County to label bridge construction ‘emergency’

Oktibbeha County Courthouse (courtesy)
Staff Writer

The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors approved a motion to declare bridge closures as an emergency to expedite the process of reopening the closed areas.

The board approved the motion unanimously.

“Any time we get that email about closing a bridge, I think we should do an emergency declaration,” President of the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors Orlando Trainer said. “That way we can try to move it along as quick as we can.”

The bridge closures stem from state inspections, which determine if the bridge is fit for a closure.

“This whole bridge situation has been a dilemma for all counties in Mississippi,” Trainer said. “It could impact everything we do.”

Financially, Trainer said the bridge closures are not cheap and can cost thousands of dollars. The cost of the bridge repairs could affect the county’s plans for other improvement projects.

Declaring the bridge closures as an emergency will allow the board to get quotes on the refurbishing process and then accept the lowest quote.

Trainer said with the work on the bridges, the board will not require those fixing the bridge to do a “finished project,” which means the contractor can focus solely on repairing the bridge. This also means the county can open the bridge faster and then get the additional cosmetic work done afterwards.

District 4 Supervisor Bricklee Miller asked the board to approve a motion to send a letter to U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran to address federal funding at the state level.

“Just to ask them if they could please consider addressing the issue of our federal dollars and how they are going to affect us through our state dollars,” Miller said.

The board approved the motion to send a letter to both senators.

Current bridges being repaired or in need of repairs include bridges on Craig Springs Road, County Lake Road and Crawford Road.