Jasper County officials say Governor was out of bounds on bridge - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jasper County officials say Governor was out of bounds on bridge closures

Governor Bryant says his decision was all about public safety. Jasper County officials seem to think it's more about politics. Source: WLBT Governor Bryant says his decision was all about public safety. Jasper County officials seem to think it's more about politics. Source: WLBT
Governor Bryant says his decision was all about public safety. Jasper County officials seem to think it's more about politics. Source: WLBT Governor Bryant says his decision was all about public safety. Jasper County officials seem to think it's more about politics. Source: WLBT
Governor Bryant says his decision was all about public safety. Jasper County officials seem to think it's more about politics. Source: WLBT Governor Bryant says his decision was all about public safety. Jasper County officials seem to think it's more about politics. Source: WLBT
Governor Bryant says his decision was all about public safety. Jasper County officials seem to think it's more about politics. Source: WLBT Governor Bryant says his decision was all about public safety. Jasper County officials seem to think it's more about politics. Source: WLBT
Governor Bryant says his decision was all about public safety. Jasper County officials seem to think it's more about politics. Source: WLBT Governor Bryant says his decision was all about public safety. Jasper County officials seem to think it's more about politics. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Governor Bryant says his decision was all about public safety. Jasper County officials seem to think it's more about politics.

Now, they're making it clear why their bridges are closed. They had signs made and posted at each location while they wait on their court date. They read, "Closed by proclamation-Gov. Phil Bryant-State of MS".

READ MORE: Smith, Jasper County sue governor, state agencies over bridge closures

"We're going to get the governor out of our county because he doesn't know what goes on in Jasper County," said Jasper County Board Attorney William Ruffin. "He's listening to somebody who's only inspected a bridge one time, not an engineer that's been looking at this bridge for years and years and years."

Governor Bryant's statement places blame on counties saying in part, "Had counties done their job, I would not have had to exercise my authority." But Jasper says, 'wait a second'.

"Our engineers are trained according to the way the State Aid Road told him to inspect the bridges," added Ruffin. "We've not been told one thing that are engineers are not doing adequate inspections until all the sudden we get a proclamation from the governor the closes all these bridges."

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

As a reminder, the feds came into the state two years ago and expressed concerns over the timber bridges. At the time, they said counties were waiting too long to shut down failing bridges. That's why independent engineers were hired to do checks statewide.

"They're more stringent or whatever and they want to close," noted Supervisor Johnny Rowell in regards to the independent inspections. "And we feel like, that's a bunch crap."

But those independent inspections also cost the state money.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Is your bridge closed?

"We could've got this up to a decent weight if they had just given us the $13,000 they paid on average to inspect each bridge," said Ruffin.

They also say the state law cited in the Governor's proclamation is one that's typically used for natural disasters and don't think it's proper to be used in an infrastructure emergency.

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

"The governor knew we had infrastructure problems and the legislature has done zero to try to correct that and get some funding to fix the bridges," noted Rowell.

Jasper County says engineers do bridge inspections every six months. They still believe the bridges are safe. Now, they'll wait until May 11 for a court hearing on whether a judge will grant their temporary restraining order.

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