Lincoln County to receive $5 million for bridges

Published 8:01 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Lincoln County will get almost $5 million in state funding to help repair or replace failing bridges. The funding is part of $250 million announced by the Mississippi Transportation Commission Tuesday.

Statewide, the approved projects will repair or replace 200 bridges, including 99 that are currently closed and another 91 that have posted weight restrictions.

City and county governments received $213 million for projects on local roads. The Mississippi Department of Transportation received $37 million for projects on the state highway network.

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“The Transportation Commission unanimously approved the selected projects from a pool of 690 applications totaling nearly $1 billion,” said Commissioner Mike Tagert, Northern Transportation District. “Although all applications contained important projects, those awarded will provide greatest benefit to the state’s crippled infrastructure.”

In Lincoln County, the following bridge projects will receive funding:

• Mt. Olive Road ($1,358,289)

• Arlington Drive SW ($1,557,846)

• Lott Smith Road NW ($767,391.60)

• Summers Lane ($506,864)

• Maple Lane SW ($727,692)

“The Transportation Commission worked closely with MDOT and the advisory board to ensure the most effective statewide allocation of funds which improves public safety and strengthens Mississippi’s economy,” said Commissioner Tom King, Southern Transportation District. “The selected projects will replace closed and posted bridges, reopening many agricultural and commerce corridors as well as providing safe passage for emergency vehicles and school buses.”

The Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Fund was created by the Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2018, which was signed into law during the 2018 Special Legislative Session. It authorized issuance of up to $250 million in bonds to repair public roads and bridges in the state.

“While we were not able to fully fund the $1 billion in requested applications, it is a start to addressing the state’s critical infrastructure needs,” said Commissioner Dick Hall, chair, Mississippi Transportation Commission. “We want to thank Gov. Bryant and the legislature for this is a step in the right direction. However, we need sustained funding to address all deteriorating bridges and crumbling roadways.”

Many of the closures are bridges with timber substructures, and Lincoln County — having the second-highest amount of timber bridges in the state — was particularity hard-hit by inspections. Lincoln County supervisors diverted a $5 million bond intended for paving improvements to bridge work and have replaced, repaired or programmed fixes for dozens of bridges.

Lincoln County backed a lawsuit in 2018 aimed at overturning an emergency declaration that closed bridges across the state. More than 600 bridges were closed statewide after the U.S. Department of Transportation ordered Mississippi to contract with out-of-state engineering firms for a comprehensive inspection of county-owned bridges.

Lawrence County will receive $749,500 for Foster Road and $1,449,500 for Stumptown Road. Copiah County will receive $993,073 for a bridge on Reese Road.

Franklin County will receive $886,684 for Davis Hill Road and another $492,481 for Bunkley Road.