Bridge project may take three years to complete connecting Oxford and Taylor.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation recently announced plans to replace all of the wooden bridges on Highway 328 in Lafayette County.
The estimated cost for the project is $9.1 million.
Highway 328 leads into the Taylor community and serves as one of two connecting roads between Oxford and Taylor.
MDOT District Engineer Mitch Turner said improvements include multiple projects.
“There are eight bridges on state Route 328 that will be replaced,” Turner said.
“The state route goes east and west through Taylor.”
The bridge project is under MDOT’s regular bridge replacement program and has been on the agenda for several years.
Lafayette County supervisor representing District 4 Chad McLarty said he believes that the improvement to local infrastructure is necessary.
Turner said the current bridges are safe but are outdated and require constant maintenance.
“The infrastructure is several years old and made of timber,” he said.
“The new concrete bridges will be a big asset for us because the structure will last several years.”
MDOT has already purchased the land needed for the new bridge, and rights of way were acquired in June 2012.
Turner said contracted work was scheduled to begin in July of this year but due to unforeseen delays, it has been pushed back to October.
“We estimate that this project will take two to three years to complete, but it really depends on the contractor,” Turner said.
“We may find a contractor who only has to work on this one project and they could attack the project and get it done.”
McLarty said that although this will be a long process, he does not see it affecting businesses in Taylor.
“There are limited businesses in Taylor,” he said.
“I don’t see it affecting them very much because most people use Old Taylor Road to go to Taylor anyway.”
Turner plans on maintaining the traffic throughout the whole project.
“The sites on Highway 328 will either have a detoured bridge or the road will be straightened out and the bridge will be build beside the old bridge,” he said.
One of McLarty’s biggest concerns is for the farmers and that they will have to find an alternative route for moving agricultural machinery on the roads and that could be difficult with slow-moving machinery.
“This project has to be done, it may be a little inconvenient, but it will be worth it in the long run,” McLarty said.