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Project is one of 163 announced by MDOT statewide
From Staff and AP Reports
State transportation commissioners have approved 163 projects to repair or replace crumbling roads and bridges, including one project near Sand Hill for roughly $1.5-million.
Commissioners voted Tuesday, months after lawmakers met in special session and authorized the state to issue $250 million in bonds to fund emergency repairs. A Mississippi Department of Transportation news release says $213 million will be spent on projects overseen by cities and counties, while $37 million will be spent on projects in the state highway system.
The release says commissioners chose projects based on bridge conditions, project readiness, traffic volume, mobility and economic impact.
Traffic has been rerouted because of closed bridges in some places, causing school buses and carriers of agricultural products to take longer routes.
Dist. 3 Supervisor Jerry Mills was excited to learn his district will receive the funding to replace two bridges on Piave Plaza Road. Mills said the bridges have been open as heavily restricted, low-weight bridges for eight years and for the past three years school buses and anything much larger than a standard passenger vehicle have had to detour around the area due to the restrictions.
“Our county engineer will talk to us about how and at what rate the money will be dispersed,” said Mills. “We are hoping to start sending out for bids for the bridge replacement after Thursday’s meeting.”
“The county will receive $1.5-million for the bridge replacement. We are thankful and grateful for the help.”
State Representative Roun McNeal (R-Leakesville), who also works for the county supervisors as legal counsel, said the announcement was welcome news.
“This is definitely good news. Piave Plaza Road supports transportation of agricultural products to market,” McNeal told the Herald. “MDOT had several criteria for award of these funds, and this project checked most of the boxes.”
State Senator Dennis DeBar (R-Leakesville) serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee and says he is “acutely aware of the serious nature of deficient bridges in our State.” DeBar said the infrastructure problems across the state was the reason for the 2018 special session, through which the legislature established the Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Fund (ERBRF), and allocated the $250-million to be dispersed by MDOT.
“In working with MDOT, and at the request of the Board of Supervisors, we ensured that $1.5-million will be allocated to Supervisor Jerry Mills for the Piave Plaza Road bridge project,” DeBar said. “In addition, MDOT has allocated $9.8-million for three bridge projects in George County, and $1.2-million for three bridges in Wayne County.”
“These bridges, once re-opened, will provide for the safety and convenience of the community, as well as provide an economic benefit for those businesses, such as loggers, who operate on our roads.”
Mills also saw the reopening of two closed bridges in his district. The Freemantown Road bridge was reopened for traffic this past Saturday and Bill Merritt Road, which was closed recently due to severe flooding, was reopened with temporary repairs Tuesday afternoon. This bridge is being placed on the Pat Harrison projects list, according to Mills.