Counties have no choice but to close bridges in midst of emergen - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Counties have no choice but to close bridges in midst of emergency declaration

The federal government is stepping in and telling Mississippi it cannot keep deficient bridges open any longer. Source: WLBT The federal government is stepping in and telling Mississippi it cannot keep deficient bridges open any longer. Source: WLBT
The federal government is stepping in and telling Mississippi it cannot keep deficient bridges open any longer. Source: WLBT The federal government is stepping in and telling Mississippi it cannot keep deficient bridges open any longer. Source: WLBT
The federal government is stepping in and telling Mississippi it cannot keep deficient bridges open any longer. Source: WLBT The federal government is stepping in and telling Mississippi it cannot keep deficient bridges open any longer. Source: WLBT
The federal government is stepping in and telling Mississippi it cannot keep deficient bridges open any longer. Source: WLBT The federal government is stepping in and telling Mississippi it cannot keep deficient bridges open any longer. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The federal government is stepping in and telling Mississippi it cannot keep deficient bridges open any longer. That's why Governor Bryant issued a state of emergency for the bridge crisis Tuesday.

READ MORE: Governor Bryant orders immediate closure of 83 locally owned bridges

It turns out that independent consultants have been doing bridge inspections around the state for a year now. It was part of an action plan created by the Federal Highway Administration and state agencies.

"They're going to have to close the bridge. And if they don't close the bridge, the Governor has instructed the Department of Transportation along with Department of Public Safety to go out there and close the bridges," explained MDOT Central District Commissioner Dick Hall. "So, they will be closed either by the county or by us."

Commissioner Hall notes that the next question is one that he expects could force a special legislative session.

"Of course the key question is where's the money going to come from to fix em? I have no any idea," said Hall. "That's a legislative issue. Not mine. We don't have enough money to fix our own bridges."

Some county officials we contacted say that many of the bridges listed in connection to that emergency declaration have already been fixed or they're in the midst of getting funding for those bridge repairs.

While the number of bridges on the list is fluctuating from day to day, Senator John Horhn says it still doesn't tell the whole story of the state's bridge issues.

"Even if the state does take action, there's no guarantee that a lot of local governments that have bridges that are out will have their problem addressed," noted Senator Horhn.

There was a $50 million bond approved for county bridges this legislative session. It can't be divvied up until July, though. Still, none of that would go to the municipalities.

"Towns and cities are especially hurt by these lack of bridge funds because unless they can come up with the local revenue, bridges like this stay out and they stay out for awhile," added Horhn.

Commissioner Hall says federal funding is in jeopardy if these bridges don't get closed.

To see a list of the bridges, click HERE.

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