Work begins soon on Highway 31 bridges near McKenzie

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 3, 2002

House Speaker Seth Hammett and State Senator Jimmy Holley recently announced that bids were let for a project to replace three bridges on U.S. Highway 31 north of McKenzie.

Newell and Bush of Montgomery submitted the apparent low bid, slated at $6.11 million,

and are constructed additional roadway lanes on Highway 31 from the north end of the McKenzie bypass where the current four-lane road narrows to two lanes to just north of Persimmon Creek relief bridge, the northernmost of a series of three bridges.

"The existing bridges on Highway 31 represent major obstacles to completion of a four-lane connector to I-65," said Hammett. "I am happy to see this difficult phase of the project receive first priority."

"With the completion of the four-laning project north of McKenzie, Covington County residents are one step closer to an unimpeded link to I-65," said Holley.

Craig Taunton, assistant pre-construction engineer, said as of early July that construction was expected to begin in four to six weeks. A spokesperson in Hammett's office said groundwork has already begun on the bridge project.

"The project encompasses a distance of approximately two miles, from the point where the four-lane road currently ends to just past the third bridge at the bottom of the hill," said Taunton. "Although this will be a major road and bridge project, we don't anticipate significant disruptions of traffic. There will be two lanes of traffic open at all times while construction is in progress."