The prestigious America's Transportation People's Choice Award has been presented to the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the joint venture of Granite-Archer Western by the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials. More than 55,000 votes were cast online for the People's Choice Award with the prize going to Mississippi's St. Louis Bay Bridge, which collected an overwhelming number of the popular votes.
After Hurricane Katrina destroyed the original bridge in August 2005, MDOT moved expeditiously to replace the structure that carries U.S. 90 between Henderson Point and Bay St. Louis. MDOT proceeded with the state's first ever 'design/build' contract to Granite Archer Western. The $267-million replacement bridge was completed on time by November 2007.
“We salute our many partners in the reconstruction process, and most importantly the resilient people of Bay St. Louis, Henderson Point and the surrounding Gulf Coast communities,” said MDOT Executive Director Larry “Butch” Brown. “This beautiful bridge is just one step in rebuilding their lives better thanbefore.”
Granite Archer Western – a joint venture of Granite Construction Company, Watsonville, CA, and Archer Western Contractors, Atlanta, GA – was awarded the $266.8-million replacement contract for the Bay St. Louis Bridge in January 2006. HNTB was the design engineering firm.
The project included removal of the damaged structure and the building of a new 30-foot-high structure, with an 85-foot-high center to allow for marine navigation and eliminate the need for a drawbridge structure in the center span. The new 2-mile-long bridge has four 12-foot travel lanes, a 12-foot pedestrian/bicycle lane on the south side, an 8-foot inside shoulder, and a 10-foot outside shoulder.
The original approach for the Bay St. Louis bridge came just after a sharp curve on the eastern end of the bridge. The new approach is slightly elevated, with a softer curve. L&A Contracting of Hattiesburg was subcontracted to do the land-based pile work. Eutaw Construction of Aberdeen, MS, performed dirt work for the abutment.
Piles are roughly 150 feet long and are driven approximately 100 feet into the bottom of the bay. There are eight land bents on the east side of the project, and one on the west side. The bridge consists of 54 trestle bents driven with 36-inch piling, and a center portion composed of 23 pier clusters of pilings that are capped.