- Associated Press - Sunday, October 12, 2014

CARROLLTON, Miss. (AP) - State transportation officials say many of Carroll County’s bridges are old and becoming critically in need of repair or replacement.

County Supervisor Terry Herbert said a recent inspection by the state showed serious issues with a number of the bridges on rural roads. He said the county has repaired or replaced several bridges in the past couple of years and now is out of money for any more.

Herbert tells The Greenwood Commonwealth (http://bit.ly/1tF4VCj ) he has two bridges that were flagged in his supervisor’s district. Both are heavily used for travel from Carroll County to Grenada. Metal is rusted on pilings, and wood is hollow. Under one, the water level has dropped so low that the concrete pilings that once were in the ground are hanging well above. Rusted-out metal pilings are visible.

“To replace this bridge on County Road 286 would cost around $650,000,” Herbert said. “It has a weight of 6,000 pounds, and a log truck weighs about 90,000 pounds.

“These are main arteries from Carroll County to Grenada. If steel buckles with wood piling under them, I don’t even want to think about it.”

Repairing the bridge would take about $100,000, Herbert said.

Supervisor Rickie Corley said repairs had been completed on the Vaiden-Kilmichael road, also heavily traveled, and says the state has now pointed out another bridge on that same road as in serious condition.

“They demanded we shut it down, but our engineers talked to them,” he said. “We examined the bridge. We put bridge timbers beside each piling. It is a Band Aid, but they talk like they will accept that. We’re having to keep all trucks off of it. It is open for cars and light traffic.”

Corley said he hopes truck drivers will get the message and use another route.

“I am trying to spread the word that the bridge is not strong enough for large vehicles,” he said.

The Mississippi Legislature this year put an extra $32 million into a program that helps local governments pay for road construction - but only if tax collections continue coming in at a good pace. If the economy slows and tax collections falter, the $32 million would not be spent.

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Information from: The Greenwood Commonwealth, http://www.gwcommonwealth.com

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