With six bridges closed in Yazoo County, officials are expecting to begin work on two of them within the next week as they continue to wait for state funds to start work on the others.
Jim Warrington, county road manager, said two bridges should be properly repaired over the next months, but other progress is tied to waiting on money from the state.
The six bridges closed are on Hilderband Road, Gordon Road, Saxton Road, Anding Oil City Road, Powell Road and Berryville Road.
Warrington said he anticipates work to begin on the Berryville Road and Saxton Road bridges next week.
“Funding for Powell Road and Anding Oil City Road bridges have been approved with the state appropriating over $5 million dollars to totally rebuild these two bridges,” he said. “Now, we are just waiting on those funds to hit our account. The funding is there, but it is just a waiting game on our part.”
Warrington added that the state funds have to be used by 2022.
“We have got three years to spend that money,” Warrington said. “If we don’t rebuild those bridges in that amount of time, we will lose the money.”
The Yazoo County Board of Supervisors provided a letter to The Yazoo Herald that explained the bridges must be built within 36 months.
“However, we are working as rapidly as possible to have these bridges completed as quickly as possible,” the county letter reads.
Warrington also said once work begins on rebuilding a bridge, he predicts the project could be completed within five to six months.
“As soon as the state funds get to us, we will start construction,” he said. “It won’t take long to complete those. Right now, it is just red tape, waiting on the money.”
County supervisors understand the frustration many residents have with bridge closures. But they said it is something that had to be done, as ordered by the state.
“We hoped the inspectors would allow these bridges to remain open until contractor work began,” the county board said. “However, due to hazardous conditions, this was not to be. These bridges have been long overdue for replacement. Repairs and patching are no longer acceptable by inspectors.”
The Office of State Aid Road Construction have discovered a total of 61 bridges within the state that need immediate closure.
The current closures are a continuation of a 2017 report from federal inspectors who determined many bridges in the state were deficient. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration worked with State Aid and the Mississippi Department of Transportation to schedule repairs or closures.
“We realize this is a major inconvenience to residents and other motorists, however we are thankful the funding has already been approved prior to closure, eliminating a much longer delay in construction,” the county board said. “Please use detour routes as we complete these much-needed and deserved new bridges. Thank you for understanding and patience as we improve our roadways.”