For residents that live on or just off of Highway 404 East and West in Duck Hill, it is taking a little more time to get where they are going due to the construction of two new bridges. First responders like the Duck Hill Fire Department are also facing delays.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation has several projects in the works in Montgomery and Carroll counties. Currently, MDOT is working to replace two bridges on Highway 404 East and Highway 404 West.
MDOT District 2 Engineer James Mitch Turner said the estimated cost of construction for the project is $6,816,730.30. Turner said it will take a year for the construction of the new West Bridge and roadway to be completed. The completion date is set for July 2022.
Turner also said that crews can only work on the East Bridge when work is also being done on the West Bridge. So if weather isn’t permitting, work can’t be done on either bridge. Which can cause for more pushback in scheduling.
“Construction began on July 19, 2021 with the roadway closure for the west bridge. Shortly after that, construction began on the east bridge. The contract requires that work be continuous on the west bridge to ensure the completion is provided in a timely manner, since there is no detour bridge in place. Work is allowed on the east bridge only when work is being performed on the west bridge,” Turner said.
He said to date, there has been 10.42 percent of the total work required for the bridges completed.
Highway 404 West not having a detour bridge is causing problems for those in the area. A quick trip to Duck Hill that normally takes 2-3 minutes, now takes 15-20 minutes. For the Duck Hill Volunteer Fire Department, if there’s a call in the area or on the interstate or at one of the homes near Highway 404, it causes a delay.
The Volunteer Fire Department doesn’t just respond to fire calls, but they help to respond to some medical calls as well.
“It takes us about 10 extra minutes,” Chief Michael Woods said.
He said if there’s a call, they would have to go around to Branscome Road.
“If anything happens across the bridge, what would’ve took three minutes now takes about 15 to 20 minutes,” he said.
Two weeks ago, Woods said they had a call on Interstate 55, and what would’ve been a quick trip on Highway 404 West, meant having to go all the way to Elliott to the Duck Hill exit and then going to the call.
“Elliott made it to the call before we did,” Woods said. He said Winona takes the calls, north of Duck Hill and Elliott takes the calls south of Duck Hill on Interstate 55. He said in some instances, they may have to go to Eskridge and then come around to a call.
Turner also gave a rundown of other projects planned for Carroll and Montgomery Counties.