Closed bridge in the heart of the city hurting business owners - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Closed bridge in the heart of the city hurting business owners

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

For almost a year, business owners have had to look at orange cones, barricades and closed signs and they want the city to finally do something about it.

Randy Osborne's business is feet away from the West Street Bridge. The thoroughfare has been shut down to traffic since December 2015, forcing people to take the long way around.

“West Street and Main Street are your two main arteries to downtown and when one is shut down, it just messes everything up," said Osborne. "It should be a priority for the city to keep this stuff up.” 

Erosion on the north approach to the bridge has created an unstable structure.

While business owners like Mary Harden say they understand the issue, no progress has been made in almost a year  and Harden says it's hurting her grocery store.

“My business is down about 30 percent and it has made it very challenging to stay here," said Harden. "I keep thinking and praying let's just make it one more day, hoping that I see some construction start and it hasn’t." 

The frustrated folks who work in the area also point out that the closed bridge is a safety issue.

“I work over there next to tracks. There are several times that a train will come through and stop and it will be 30 minutes," said Adam Hanesworth. "In those type of situations, we have no emergency access.” 

Several business owners on West Street said they have reached out to the city, but keep getting the run around.

“Do something," said one business owner. "Get something going on out here.”

City spokeswoman Sheila Byrd said the city is hoping to get engineering contracts for the bridge approved with MDOT and city council in the next few weeks. The city can will then set a time line for construction.  

In addition, Byrd said it is difficult to secure funding for bridge replacements and rehabilitation work due to limited state and federal appropriations.

“We realize the process has been slow, but due to the potential of federal funds reimbursing the City for design and construction expenditures, we have to follow their processes to ensure all expenditures are properly reimbursed to the city,” said Byrd.

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