By Randy Bell
When the City of Clinton spent more than $83,000 to repair the Pinehaven Road bridge over Bogue Chitto Creek in July, it knew splicing the rotten piles was only a temporary fix. But now it has the money to do what needs to be done.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation has awarded Clinton $5,073,820.85 to build a new bridge, a project which will result in a safer and wider span while forcing many drivers in the northern part of the city to take an alternate route during the construction – and that detour will be lengthy, in both miles and duration.
Consulting City Engineer Bill Owen says they’re hoping to have everything ready to begin work sometime late next year.
“It is estimated that construction of the bridge will take from twelve to fifteen months after award of a construction contract,” said Owen.
Pinehaven Road will be closed from Williamson Road to Kickapoo Road while the project is underway. Drivers who detour around the bridge work using Williamson, Kickapoo and Clinton-Tinnin roads will be traveling almost four miles out of their way in each direction.
The money will come from the Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Fund, which the Mississippi Legislature established during a special session in 2018. Federal coronavirus response and relief money has been used to replenish the fund in recent years. Owen says a local cost share will not be needed, as long as the project comes in under estimate.
Clinton will also be hoping to dip into another pot of MDOT money.
The Board of Aldermen voted September 5 to submit an application for funding to continue the installation of bollard lights along the Arrow Drive multi-use pathway. Owen says the Transportation Alternatives Program helps with projects that are not typically thought of as roadway-type projects.
“The City’s application will ask for $624,700, with the provision of $156,200 of match monies for the construction of these improvements,” Owen said.
A Meridian company has already been hired to install the first seventy lights along the pathway from Pinehaven Drive to the west side of Clinton High School. That project is being paid for with funds left over from $1 million in legislative funding, which also covered the cost of repaving Northside Drive.
Owen says work funded by the MDOT grant would pick up where the initial project leaves off.
“If approved, this project would start near the high school and add another one hundred forty bollard lights from there to Cynthia Road,” he said.
If the City gets the money, the work would likely be done in 2025.
The lights are three and a half to four feet high and will be spaced about thirty-seven feet apart.