State grants $450,000 to repair Adams Street bridge

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 13, 2002

[11/13/02]State Rep. George Flaggs, D-Vicksburg, said Tuesday that Warren County will get a $450,000 state grant to repair to a bridge that has been closed for two years.

“It’s really competitive,” Flaggs said of the pool of money for the work.

Supervisors in 63 of Mississippi’s 82 counties have been told that more than 300 bridges should be closed. State Aid Engineer J. Brooks Miller wrote a letter Friday urging county supervisors to immediately close bridges on the verge of collapse and report any repairs to county engineers.

The list of more than 300 bridges accompanied the letter, but Warren County officials said they had not been notified of any bridges locally that need to be closed. The state grant will be used to replace the Adams Street bridge, which has been closed for two years.

“We don’t play with this,” said Warren County Engineer John McKee. “If they need to be closed, we close them.”

A deadly collapse of a century-old bridge on Nov. 2 in Wayne County has spurred state and county officials to review bridge inspections and close shaky structures. In the letter, Miller said he wanted to remind supervisors “these things will fall” if not properly shut down and repaired.

McKee said that the Adams Street bridge, which was closed after a small landslide, is the only bridge in the county in need of immediate replacement. Other bridge such as the Cherry Street bridge have been slated for repairs and work is wrapping up on a Halls Ferry Road bridge replacement.

Replacing the Adams Street bridge, which crosses Glass Bayou, is estimated to cost about $346,000, said Richard George, president of Warren County supervisors. He added that if it had not been for the efforts of Flaggs, the county would not have gotten the funding to undertake the project next year.

“We owe Rep. Flaggs a debt of gratitude,” George said.

Warren County had sought a Community Development Block Grant through the Mississippi Development Authority, but was turned down earlier this year. About $16.5 million had been made available statewide, but 112 applicants including Warren County had asked for $34 million in funding for various projects, said Chris Gouras of Jimmy Gouras Planning Consultants.

The Friday order from the State Aid Engineer was issued following the deaths of three men in Wayne County when a bridge collapsed over the Chickasawhay River.

A 2001 inspection report described the bridge in “imminent failure condition,” but it remained open. Wayne County supervisors say they had shored up the bridge to hold up to 6,000 pounds, or average car and truck traffic.

Even with the state order to county supervisors, there is no guarantee they will take heed.

Miller’s only recourse would be to stop state funding for bridge repair in those counties, which he said would be futile.