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Bridge work delayed

A University of Mississippi project to repair the bridge on University Avenue that goes over Gertrude Ford Boulevard will have a later start than originally expected.

Last month, the Oxford Board of Aldermen voted to allow the university to close a portion of Gertrude Ford Boulevard to repair the bridge. The project includes stripping and repainting the steel beams, replacing some bearing devices, adding steel plates to the beams and rebuilding the expansion joints.

The project was expected to begin in early June, however, Jimmy Dickerson, project manager with Buchard Horn Inc., said the university did not award a contractor and will be rebidding the project on June 9.

“If we get acceptable bids and award, the university plans to begin construction toward the end of June,” Dickerson said.

Gertrude Ford Boulevard is expected to be closed shorty after July 4 until Aug. 20 — two days before classes start on campus for the fall semester.

The work on the bridge will increase its weight limit, according to Public Works Director Bart Robinson.

University Avenue will not be closed during construction. Instead, the area of roadway between Old Taylor Road to the Circle will be reduced to two lanes and one sidewalk. Traffic will be allowed over the bridge during construction, however, some temporary closures could be possible.

Gertrude Ford Boulevard will remain open other than the area near and under the bridge, Dickerson said.

“Gertrude Ford Boulevard will remain open except for this short section,” Dickerson said. “We won’t know everything and all the detailed timing until we select the contractor and get their schedule.”

Detours will be planned out once the contractor is selected.