Final push begins for U.S. 78 bridge project

news_inthenews_greenBy Dennis Seid
Daily Journal

TUPELO – With most of the difficult work finished, Century Construction has entered the final phase in completing the new bridge over U.S. Highway 78.

The bridge is the last piece of a project connecting Coley Road to the heavily traveled Barnes Crossing Road in what’s been called the northern loop.

To mark the occasion Friday, Century hosted a lunch for its employees, subcontractors, the Mississippi Department of Transportation and other officials.

“We’re having the lunch in appreciation for their hard work in maintaining the rigid schedule requirements of the project,” said Colin Maloney, Century Construction’s president.

The bridge project was started in mid-March with a 200-day deadline, which is Sept. 27.

Maloney and project manager David Horton said the project is on target, despite a few hiccups with weather.

“It’s been a tough job at times, but we’ve kept it on schedule,” Horton said.

About 100 employees and subcontractors have been working 12-hour days every day of the week.

“The hard work is done,” Horton said. “Getting the pre-cast beams over the highway was the most difficult part. … next we’ll work on the bridge decking, then getting crushed stone on the roadway, then getting that paved. We’re shooting for July 28 on the roadway.”

Completion of another bridge over the Natchez Trace Parkway is expected to be finished next week by another contractor.

The $10.5 million U.S. 78 bridge is the final link in the northern loop. The new roadway will cross Town Creek bottom, intersect with Mount Vernon Road and cross the Natchez Trace Parkway.