I-10 bridge in Pascagoula, Miss. reopens early

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All four lanes of the Interstate 10 bridge in Pascagoula, Miss., have reopened just weeks after a barge battered the eastbound span during Hurricane Katrina.

The bridge wasn’t scheduled to open until Monday, Oct. 10, but U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta said a flexible contract and a $100,000-per-day incentive for early completion helped speed the job.

T.L. Wallace Construction of Columbia, Miss., had the $5.2 million contract and received a $1 million bonus for completing the job on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Damage from Katrina had closed the eastbound span, causing traffic backups with only one lane open in each direction on the westbound span.

Work continues on another I-10 bridge, the “twin-span” bridge over Lake Pontchartrain between New Orleans and Slidell, La. Boh Brothers Construction of New Orleans was awarded the $31 million repair contract Sept. 9, and work began Sept. 12. The bridge should reopen in early January 2006.