City leaders decided in May to reopen the bridge on Shands Bottom Road in Senatobia after repairs were made to fill gaps caused by erosion on both ends of the overpass.
Kevin McLeod from Elliott & Britt Engineering said a polyfoam product was used to correct the problem underneath the road leading to the bridge.
“The material used can vary, but the ultimate goal is to fill the voids so the road doesn't settle and or fall in,” McLeod explained. “In this case, the bridge was not the issue. It was the approaching roadway.”
Aldermen voted unanimously in December of last year to close the bridge crossing Senatobia Creek on Shands Bottom Road after it was deemed unsafe by engineers from the Office of State Aid Road Construction (OSARC).
The bridge, located about 70 yards west of where Shands Bottom Road crosses under Interstate 55 just south of Senatobia Sports Park, and the roadway leading to it were completely underwater in April of 2020 after heavy rains moved through the area flooding the creek.
A Critical Finding Report from OSARC stated erosion was encroaching into the roadway at the northeast corner of the bridge up to two feet causing a hole approximately 12 feet long and six feet deep. The report also said erosion was encroaching at the southwest corner of the bridge into the roadway up to three feet resulting in a hole measuring 12 feet long and 10 feet deep.
The Senatobia Public Works Department repaired washed out sections at both ends of the bridge in November of 2020, but McLeod told aldermen there were concerns about more erosion underneath the bridge where it meets the roadway. Aldermen voted in December to keep the bridge closed until a viable option was presented to repair it.
Barriers were placed on each end to prevent vehicles from crossing it and warning signs were posted in the middle of Shands Bottom Road at least one hundred yards away from the bridge warning motorists of the closure.
McLeod told aldermen in January a new replacement bridge with a center span of 80 feet would cost approximately $550,000. That price tag included raising the elevation of the road higher than what is currently in place to prevent future flooding.
McLeod said raising the elevation presented another problem since there may not be enough significant distance to drop the roadway back down eastward in order for vehicles to safely travel under the overpasses that span across Interstate 55. Another option was to install a box culvert bridge with three chambers measuring 10-feet wide and 14-feet tall.
McLeod’s stated because of the skew of the water channel, the bridge would probably need to be approximately 250-feet long and cost an estimated $600,000. Aldermen also considered closing the bridge permanently and removing it.
“We’re pleased there was an economical way to keep the bridge open,” said Mayor Greg Graves. “We appreciate Kevin and our Public Works Department for making it safe to travel across again.”
The bridge on Shands Bottom Road was constructed in 1993 and an average of 110 vehicle cross it each day, according to the Mississippi Office of State Aid Road Construction website.