JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Transportation is resuming construction of the Interstate 55 South Project from McDowell Road to Byram in Hinds County.
In January, MDOT stopped work on the project because of a design flaw in the retaining walls along the interstate, as well as unanticipated soil conditions. MDOT then let the project as a design-build contract; however, the lowest bid in this process had several major errors and could not be awarded. Other bids exceeded the state’s estimate and were not viable options.
“MDOT recognizes the importance of receiving the best value for the taxpayers of Mississippi and completing this project in a timely and effective manner,” said Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall. “MDOT took what we learned from the design-build process and developed new plans in a conventional, competitive bid process open to all bidders.”
MDOT is dividing the remaining work into two phases. Phase one construction has begun and is expected with a substantial completion date of December 23. The final completion date for phase one construction is April 15, 2016.
The new contract for phase one construction was approved by the Mississippi Transportation Commission and awarded to James Construction Group of Baton Rouge on June 23. The total contract amount is $21.3 million, which is 2.67 percent above the state’s estimate.
The northbound exit ramp at Elton Road is scheduled to open by July 22.
All other ramps are scheduled to open by September 18. Another priority for phase one is to improve travel safety by moving traffic to the outside lanes, away from the current head-to-head configuration.
During the time allotted for phase one construction, phase two plans will be reviewed for accuracy and prepared for the final project. This contract will allow the contractor to bid both direct cost and time to perform the work. Phase two will begin immediately following the completion of phase one.
The phase two contract will reconstruct the southbound lanes of Interstate 55 from McDowell Road to Byram. The median will also be reconstructed and new roadway lighting will be added to the medians. Retaining walls between the southbound lanes of Interstate 55 and the frontage road will also be built as part of this contract. Additionally, MDOT will install a new traffic signal at the Byram interchange and Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) components, such as traffic cameras and dynamic message signs (DMS) along Interstate 55.