City, county receive state aid funding

Published 7:30 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Three local transportation projects totaling more than $6.6 million will be going forward in the near future.

The Mississippi Transportation Commission announced Tuesday, Kemp Bottom Road Bridge ($3,737,845), Ballground Road Bridge ($1,358,050) and Freetown Road Bridge ($1,542,796) have been approved for funding.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The projects are three of 163 Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Fund projects that will be funded from $250 million in bonds after Mississippi lawmakers met in a special session last year to repair or replace crumbling roads and bridges.

“I’m excited,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “Having relationships (with state officials) is helping the city. We’re excited and we’re thankful that they’re able to help us with it, so we’re moving forward with it. It couldn’t have come at a better time.”

The problem with Kemp Bottom Road Bridge dates back to the 2011 spring Mississippi River flood, when the river crested on May 19, 2011, at 57.1 feet, 14.1 feet above flood stage and nine-tenths of a foot above the Great Flood of 1927. During the flood, the bayou, which drains into the Mississippi River, began looking for a shorter route to the river.

Bank erosion problems caused city officials to close the Kemp Bottom Road bridge on July 25, 2017. The bridge collapsed two days later.

According to County Administrator John Smith, funding both Ballground Road and Freetown Road will free up the county to use state aid money to pave state aid roads.

He said the supervisors are expected to discuss the topic in their work session Monday.

A Mississippi Department of Transportation news release says $213 million will be spent on projects overseen by cities and counties, while $37 million will be spent on projects in the state highway system.

The release says commissioners chose projects based on bridge conditions, project readiness, traffic volume, mobility and economic impact.

Traffic has been rerouted because of closed bridges in some places, causing school buses and carriers of agricultural products to take longer routes.

“The Transportation Commission worked closely with MDOT and the advisory board to ensure the most effective statewide allocation of funds which improves public safety and strengthens Mississippi’s economy,” said Commissioner Tom King, Southern Transportation District. “The selected projects will replace closed and posted bridges, reopening many agricultural and commerce corridors as well as providing safe passage for emergency vehicles and school buses.”