TYLERTOWN — Walthall County officials are getting assistance from the state and the federal government on bridge projects, and looking to use funds dedicated to the county to virtually eliminate timber-based bridges in the county.
County engineer Jeff Dungan told supervisors on Tuesday that bids on a federal project to replace the bridge on East Lexie Road will be opened July 6 in Brookhaven.
The project has been combined with several other projects, including some in Lincoln County. The Lincoln County board of supervisors agreed to serve as the fiscal agent for the entire group of projects.
Dungan estimated that work will start in two to three weeks on replacing a bridge on Sauls Road. That project is funded by state Emergency Road and Bridge Replacement funds.
Deputy Chancery Clerk Cindy Ginn said she had created a separate checking account for the project funds, and expected about $500,000 to be transferred to the county soon.
In addition to those projects, Dungan said the State Aid office in Jackson had approved plans for projects to replace bridges on Sims Thornhill, Breland-Brown and Old Sandy Hook roads. Those projects are estimated to take about $850,000 in funds available to the county through the Local System Bridge Program.
All of the bridges just finished, under contract or planned to start soon were closed or severely weight-restricted after federally mandated inspections of bridges with timber pilings or other components.
Of the $2.4 million in the county’s State Aid account, Dungan said projects to improve Darbun and Industrial Park roads would take about $900,000, leaving about $1.5 million available for a major road reseal project.
The reseal project “will use most of the money left in your account, and that’s all the money you’ve got for the rest of the term” of office, Dungan said. “I hope there will be some more money put in there from elsewhere.”
Just elected in November, the supervisors won’t reach the end of their terms until Dec. 31, 2023.
In other business, the board considered the future for waste disposal in the county.
Board President Larry Montgomery said the county pays between $42 and $44 per ton to dispose of waste at a landfill near Magnolia, but the board is anticipating an increase in the tipping fees soon.
Dungan recommended that the board seek proposals on tipping fees, and noted that Marion County and Columbia had jointly built a transfer station to help handle trash collection and disposal.
Operation of the Marion transfer station is contracted through an advertised bid solicitation.
Dungan said Marion County and Columbia pay $56 per ton to the transfer station operator, but that they save some in transportation costs,
Given an average of 12 trips per day by Walthall garbage trucks to Magnolia and about 5,000 tons of garbage sent to Magnolia each year, Dungan calculated that the county spends about $60,000 getiing the garbage to Magnolia, or about $12 per ton.
He estimated the county could probably build a transfer station, over a 20-year term, for about $24,000 per year.
“We may have to look into that and consider it,” Montgomery said.
“That’s a problem that’s only going to get worse with time,” Supervisor Doug Popwell said.