Interstate work in Scott Co. to take 2 years

By The Associated Press

FOREST — The Department of Transportation plans a two-year reconstruction of about 18 miles of Interstate 20 in Scott County in central Mississippi, to begin this spring.

The $57.2 million project will include a periodic shutdown of the eastbound and westbound lanes and significant traffic disruption, said central district Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall.

“It will be a brand new highway,” Hall said.

The Scott County Times reports the construction zone will extend for 17.8 miles from Mississippi Highway 481 — the Morton-Pulaski exit — in Scott County to the Newton County line. Completion is scheduled for May 2013.

Hall said motorists will come across a variety of construction signs, cones, concrete barriers and state law mandated lower speed limits with double speeding fines for violations.

“What I want to emphasize is safety. This is going to be under way for a very long time. It is going to be a pain in the rear end to the traveling public.

“The work, while necessary for the long-term stability of this section of the Interstate, might be inconvenient for motorists for a brief period of time. It’s a means to an end and when construction is complete motorists will have a sturdy and well-constructed roadway that will last for years,” Hall said.

MDOT will remove all existing asphalt pavement and the old concrete from beneath the roadway between Mississippi Highway 481 and Highway 501, a distance of 10 miles, and replace with asphalt pavement.

The remainder of project between Highway 501 and the Newton County line, a distance of 7.8 miles, will be mill and overlay work.

MDOT will prepare over the next few weeks to divert traffic to the eastbound lanes while the westbound lanes are closed and reconstructed. Median barriers will separate the two-way traffic.

In March 2012, traffic will moved to the newly reconstructed westbound lanes so work can be done on the eastbound lanes.