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Warren Ave. bridge work needs funds

Lincoln County supervisors learned Tuesday that a long-closedcity bridge is a step closer to being replaced, but funding for theproject remains a major hurdle to overcome.

County Engineer Carl Ray Furr said the Canadian NationalRailroad had approved an arched concrete tunnel design to replacethe closed Warren Avenue bridge. The railroad had rejected someother designs for the bridge, which has been closed for years dueto a low sufficiency rating.

The design approval was welcome news for District One Supervisorthe Rev. Jerry L. Wilson, who represented the area when he WardThree alderman on the city board.

“It is needful,” Wilson said.

Furr said the tunnel would have to be large enough toaccommodate a second railroad track if one is ever built. Theengineer said traffic would be able to go over the tunnel.

“That’ll ease the pain,” said Wilson, who expressed concernsabout the closed bridge’s impact on emergency services vehiclestrying to cross the railroad tracks.

The only thing needed now, Furr said, is funding. Officials haveconsidered using state Local System Bridge Program funds, but thatprogram was not funded this year by the legislature.

County officials are hopeful that bridge funding, which was partof a major bond project that failed during this year’s regularlegislative session, could be included in a possible specialsession later this year.

Furr said the city would be responsible for obtaining a minimumamount of right of way for the project. Under an earlier proposalto construct a new bridge, Furr said four houses along WarrenAvenue would have had to be bought.

“Nobody wanted to go that route,” Furr said.

In other engineering matters, Furr expected an engineeringsurvey for the Homochitto National Forest Road to be ready in about30 days. The county has received $2 million in national forestfunding to construct the road to connect Highway 550 in LincolnCounty with Highway 84 in Franklin County.

Also Tuesday, Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop informed supervisorsof a new copy card system for his office.

Like a pre-paid phone card, Bishop said the system will allowlawyers or others who make a lot of copies to purchase a card fortheir copy needs.