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Crews merging lanes on US 61 in preparation for new bridge

1 week 19 hours 59 minutes ago Tuesday, November 17 2020 Nov 17, 2020 November 17, 2020 9:00 PM November 17, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

The wait for a new bridge along Highway 61 is almost over. The bridge is set to be built as part of the Comite Diversion Canal Project.

James and Cookie Mullican have lived near the highway and Barnett Road for 25 years. But soon, traffic in the area will be noticeably different.

"We're just sort of waiting to see what's going to happen," James said.

Representative Valarie Hodges said crews are relocating gas lines and utilities right now in preparation. Within a few weeks, lanes along Highway 61 will merge to bypass roads.

"Traffic will have to merge until they get the bridge built. It's an unfortunate necessity, but it's got to be done so that we can get this canal done as soon as possible."

Next will be construction of a bridge over the future 12-mile long canal that will divert the Comite River water to the Mississippi. But Hodges says there are a few properties that need to be acquired in order for this to be done.

"We've got to be able to acquire those properties and the right of ways to be able to do the next step, which is get the bridge built."

The project is needed to mitigate flooding like the Mullicans witnessed in 2016.

Homeowners prone to flooding will have to wait until at least the end of 2021 before the much-anticipated Comite Diversion project is complete.

The Comite Diversion Task Force Meeting is 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the State Capitol.
A presentation of updates and timelines for the project from DOTD and the US Army Corp of Engineers will be given.

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