Gap in Hardy Street bridge leaves motorist concerned

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) — A Facebook picture of a gap on U.S. Highway 98 bypass in Hattiesburg has gone viral.
We asked the Mississippi Department of Transportation if this is a concern for motorist.

Bridge Gap hwy 98 hattiesburgTim Adams snapped a picture of a gap in the Hardy Street bridge. With over five-thousand shares, it leaves one question.

Is this safe to travel on?

Cape Jones, Assistant Maintenance District 6 Engineer with MDOT says it is a common issue for the bridge sealant to come up over time.

“It’s not a structural issue. The bridge is perfectly safe for motorist,” he said.

But Adams, who is a regular motorcycle rider in Hattiesburg says it raises concerns for him.

“You know any kind of motorcyclist if someone on the passenger seat always gets the brunt of any type of dip or hole. There is no telling what could actually occur,” Adams expresses. “Even if it just throws the motorcycle sides ways just a little bit could throw them into oncoming traffic.”

The Mississippi Department of Transportation says all bridges have sealant in the gaps. This gives the bridge room to expand when heated, to prevent it from impacting and buckling. When there is cold air, the bridge separates anywhere between one to four inches.

“Obviously if it’s not there sometimes visually it can be disturbing to motorist. It’s basically there to keep material from falling through and falling onto the bridge cap,” said Jones.

With this being a heavily used bridge in Hattiesburg, officials say over time the wear and tear has just caused the sealant to come up.

“There is no problem for motorist and that the joints in it will be addressed whenever we get funding into a project or we may try to address it in house with our crews.”

Bridges across the state of Mississippi are checked thoroughly twice each year by certified bridge inspectors and once a month by maintenance crews.



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