Mandatory bridge closures leave cities and counties on the hook - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mandatory bridge closures leave cities and counties on the hook for the bill

Mississippi's timber bridges are in jeopardy of closing, if they haven't already, and the price tag lands with the cities and counties where they're located. Source: WLBT Mississippi's timber bridges are in jeopardy of closing, if they haven't already, and the price tag lands with the cities and counties where they're located. Source: WLBT
Mississippi's timber bridges are in jeopardy of closing, if they haven't already, and the price tag lands with the cities and counties where they're located. Source: WLBT Mississippi's timber bridges are in jeopardy of closing, if they haven't already, and the price tag lands with the cities and counties where they're located. Source: WLBT
Mississippi's timber bridges are in jeopardy of closing, if they haven't already, and the price tag lands with the cities and counties where they're located. Source: WLBT Mississippi's timber bridges are in jeopardy of closing, if they haven't already, and the price tag lands with the cities and counties where they're located. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Mississippi's timber bridges are in jeopardy of closing, if they haven't already, and the price tag lands with the cities and counties where they're located.

It's not cheap to replace or even repair a bridge like the one in the city of Clinton. Still, the federal government says it's got to be done before anyone can drive across it again. Meanwhile, state leaders didn't approve any new money for roads and bridges and that includes the kind of money that would go to make these kinds of repairs.

RELATED: City of Jackson closes 11 bridges for repairs

An action plan was set in place for bridge inspections last year that included national engineering consultants doing the inspections of city and county bridges.

"Now they've come back with two that were completely off our radar and we were really surprised by that," explained Clinton Mayor Phil Fisher.

Fisher found himself in the same spot that many mayors are in around the state. His city was fortunate to have the money, but if the list grows, he's not sure.

"With no funding source other than what we can come up with and the legislature tying our hands on that, it really makes it difficult," added Fisher. "Now, we have 14 bridges in the city. If we have to go back and replace at say $2 million a bridge, where are you going to come up with $28 million?"

If funding isn't there in a city, the bridges will stay closed even longer. Mayor Fisher is frustrated at the legislature for shifting the full burden to the local level.

"Without some assistance from higher government, I mean you can raise taxes every year if you want to," said Fisher. "If that's what the leadership of the state expects cities and counties to do, I think that's not fair on their part."

The office of state aid roads tells us there are still timber bridges that will be closed soon. Fisher notes that short term fixes aren't the answer.

"We need to start finding solutions, realizing we have a statewide problem and addressing these in a logical way," Fisher said. "Maybe using temporary fixes so we can buy some time, but then coming back and fixing these bridges."

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