TYLERTOWN — Some of Walthall County’s closed and weight-limited bridges are closer to being repaired and open to their usual traffic.
County engineer Jeff Dungan told county supervisors last Wednesday that work is substantially complete on replacing the bridge on Old Bethel Road and nearing completion on the bridge on May Road.
“May Road has been delayed by weather,” Dungan said. “I hope things will clear up, and we’ll finish in two to three weeks.”
He said bids will be opened for replacement of the bridge on Sauls Road on April 22.
Three other bridges, on Old Sandy Hook, Sims Thornhill and Breeland-Brown roads, have been approved for Local System Bridge Program funding by the state Department of Transportation when the funding is available.
A federally-funded project on East Lexie Road is in progress as well.
The increased bridge work comes after a couple of years in which federally mandated inspections of bridges with timber components led to the closures or lowering of weight limits on many bridges statewide, along with the state legislature’s failure to fund LSBP and the State Aid road program.
Last year the Legislature established new funding for transportation infrastructure through the newly created lottery and online sales tax.
Other projects approved for Walthall County recently include repaving Darbun and Industrial Park roads with State Aid funds — though getting both projects done might not be in the county’s best interest.
“Those two projects would take almost all of your State Aid funding for this (four-year) term,” Dungan said.
The actual bids on those projects will give the board some idea how much money might be left in its State Aid account for other reseal projects.
Dungan said getting other projects approved will be difficult in the near future, as the State Aid office at MDOT has been closed while MDOT operates with limited staff amid precautions against COVID-19.
Dungan said the Darbun Road project could be bid in June and underway by late July or August.
While roads are a big concern, the county moved ahead seeking funding for other projects as well.
Allen Laird of Southwest Mississippi Planning and Development District told the board he will apply for a federal grant to rebuild or rehabilitate homes in the county.
While the county has received funding for that program before and was able to rebuild one or two homes, Laird said new terms of the program allow for smaller repairs of up to 16 homes.
He projected holding the first of two public hearings required on the grant in mid-April.