Drivers have been detoured around the bridge in D'Iberville, but after tomorrow night, the bridge will be no more. Wrecking balls will start the tear down tomorrow night and will hopefully be finished by 9 a.m. on Sunday. Officials say that the headache from the detour will be worth it. D'Iberville has seen tremendous growth in recent years, and it is now home to many businesses just north of I-10. With that growth has come traffic congestion and the need for better roadways and bridges. That's just one reason why M.D.O.T. chose to invest nearly 30 million dollars to upgrade this intersection at I-10 and I-110. Kelly Castleberry, an engineer for M.D.O.T., says, "Well, there's been a lot of growth in the area. There's also a lot of congestion in this corridor, the I-10/110 corridor along with Hwy. 67. Based on that congestion, we prioritize projects based on where the traffic is. Also there's some economic development that's kinda’ driving this as well. And when you combine everything together, this is a good project." Police will continue to help out with the traffic, especially during this weekend's 19 mile detour, but Captain Clay Jones of the D’Iberville Police Department says the extra work and temporary traffic hassles will be worth it in the long run. Jones says, "We're very fortunate that we have this type of activity going on, this development, to support our economy, so we're happy about it. It does cause an inconvenience, but in the big picture, it's really what we need." M.D.O.T. leaders say the main focus of this project will be safely building a route to the new infrastructure in D'Iberville.
Castleberry also says, "This project and phase two will allow a lot more access into D'Iberville, and it will also allow there to be some flow within the city that will help the congestion on Interstate 10." Safety has been the number one priority for M.D.O.T. in this project. That's why they chose to destroy the bridge by mechanical means, in order to protect local businesses, as well as shut down eight miles of the interstate to protect local drivers. Castleberry closes, "We did conduct traffic studies and determined that roughly 9% of the traffic that's on the road is between those hours, so that's the reason why those hours were chosen. We understand the inconvenience, but safety reasons dictate why we have to shut it down at this time." Phase two of the project will be to take down another bridge and to finish the ramps connecting I-10 and I-110. M.D.O.T. and local law enforcement say that traffic will be slow and they ask drivers to be alert and attentive to all signs and police who will be out during the detour.