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Bridge funds good news for Lawrence County

MONTICELLO — Officials say $5 million in federal funding for anew bridge in the southern part of Lawrence County will provideopportunities for improving economic development, safety and schoolstudent transportation.

MONTICELLO — Officials say $5 million in federal funding for anew bridge in the southern part of Lawrence County will provideopportunities for improving economic development, safety and schoolstudent transportation.

The money, which will be for engineering and environmentalstudies on a proposed bridge on Highway 44, is included in afederal transportation appropriations bill for fiscal year 2001.The bridge will provide a link between Monticello and Columbia.

“We’re very excited about the project,” said Paul McLain,executive director of the Lawrence County Community DevelopmentAssociation. “This has been a goal of the board of supervisors andpartnering boards of supervisors for many years.”

Jeff Dunigan, county engineer for Lawrence, Marion, Walthall andJefferson Davis counties, said he was glad to see local officials’efforts paying off.

“These funds will more than clear the way to conduct theengineering, environmental and other preliminary work for thisbridge to be built,” Dunigan said.

Officials hailed economic and other benefits of the newbridge.

“This bridge means jobs, safety and opportunity,” said 4thDistrict U.S. Rep. Ronnie Shows in a statement announcing thefunding.

McLain agreed.

“I think this is really going to open up the southern part ofthe county for economic development,” McLain said.

McLain said Lawrence County already has a good north-southcorridor with Highway 27. The new bridge will be the chance for agood east-west corridor along Highway 44.

Increased educational opportunities through school bus traveland improved safety response from emergency services vehicles wereother positive aspects of the bridge.

McLain said Shows is expected to meet with supervisors at theirMonday meeting. Aspects such as a construction time frame could bediscussed then, he said.