Supervisors get bridge bad news

Published 6:00 am Thursday, February 19, 2004

Lincoln County supervisors received a sour, but not unexpected,report from the state bridge inspector Tuesday.

Leroy Moseley, a State Aid inspector, informed the board thatseveral roads and bridges posed a danger to the public, and hewould recommend they be closed. Those recommendations would be madein his report to the state and sent to the supervisors in writtenform in two to three weeks.

“This bridge situation is serious, but we’re not surprised,”said District Three Supervisor Nolan Earl Williamson. “As soon aswe get that report in our hands, we’re going to have to rush aroundand put in something temporary or fix it until we can get it in the(federal repair) program.”

Moseley’s oral report Tuesday was not official, but only to warnsupervisors of what his recommendations will be in the writtenreport. The written report sent to supervisors is considered theofficial notification.

“‘It wasn’t a complete report. He just hit the highlights on itsome,” Williamson said.

Moseley commented on two projects in Williamson’s district — abridge on Topisaw Road and a bridge on Primitive Road.

“Mine, I’ve already got closed,” he said.

The bridge on Topisaw Road was closed recently when the flashflooding resulting from heavy rains earlier carried it away,Williamson said.

The bridge was already under a federal repair program and workwas expected to begin last week. That work was delayed by the flashflooding and heavy rains, he said.

Work to repair the bridge on Primitive Road is already underway, he said, and it is nearly completed.

“I should have it done by the time the report comes out,”Williamson said.

That project, too, was delayed when a Bogue Chitto Road bridgeover Beaver Dam Creek collapsed Monday while repairs were beingmade to it.

“I need that bridge to get back there (where the Primitive Roadbridge is),” he said. “Mid-South (Construction Inc.) may put atemporary bridge across there.”

Mid-South has the repair contract on the Beaver Dam Creekbridge.

Board President and District Two Supervisor Bobby J. Watts saidMoseley mentioned two bridges in his district, one on Old MalcolmRoad and one on Forest Trail. Damage to those bridges was notcaused by the recent heavy rains, he said.

“They’re not washed out, they’re rotted out,” he said. “Icertainly don’t want to close those bridges, but I may have nochoice.”

Watts said the bridge caps and pilings that support thestructure were rotted and would have to be replaced before he couldcomfortably allow traffic to pass over them. He said he would visitthe sites Wednesday to inspect them and make an estimate of therepair costs.

“We need to get money for the county for roads and bridges,”Watts said. “We all have low-rated bridge problems on ourfarm-to-market roads.”

Watts, Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop and County Engineer CarlRay Furr are leaving for Washington, D.C., Sunday to encourage morefunding for local transportation. They will return Thursday orFriday.

Williamson said the problem is that counties continue to loseground on roads and bridges because of the weight limits. Countyroads are built to withstand 37,000 lbs. and State Aid roads 55,000lbs., but heavy haulers are allowed to carry 84,000 lbs. The extraweight damages the roads, and supervisors are continually repairingroads already completed while trying to repave other roads.

“More money has to be appropriated to build these roads toaccommodate the traffic they have,” he said. “We keep losingground.”

Moseley’s recommendations came after an annual tour of thecounty, and did carry some good news.

“We’ve done a lot,” Williamson said. “We have received and usedmore money than any other county in the state for roads andbridges.”