Emergency money approved to repair and replace crumbling bridges - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Emergency money approved to repair and replace crumbling bridges in Mississippi

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

Emergency money is on the way to help fix Mississippi's crumbling bridges.

Governor Phil Bryant recently issued a state of emergency ordering more than 100 county bridges to be closed due to safety concerns.

READ MORE: Governor Bryant orders immediate closure of 83 locally owned bridges

The state will start off with $25 million in bond money now and get another $25 million as early as July.        

“It is a danger to the lives of the motoring public and it's our responsibility to protect the people of the state of Mississippi,” said Gov. Phil Bryant.

It's been a little more than two weeks since the Governor ordered the Mississippi Department of Transportation to close some of the most unsafe bridges.

“You're looking at about 120 to 122 bridges that are closed," said Bryant. "Some that have been recommended to be close that are still open.”

INTERACTIVE MAP: Is your bridge closed?

During the legislative session, state lawmakers approved $50 million in bond money for the local bridge program, but the problem was the state couldn't access the money until July.

Monday, bond commissioners met and voted unanimously to issue half of that money.

“In essence we have freed up $25 million in short term borrowing that will go to bridge replacement and repair today," said Governor Bryant. "As soon as we meet again between now or after the first of July, I will add $25 million and that should put roughly $50 million into bridge repair and replacement by the end of this year.”

Bryant admits this is the bridge issue is big job, so every dollar needs to be spent wisely to get the work done as soon as possible.

RELATED: Counties have no choice but to close bridges in midst of emergency declaration

“We will be using $6 million we currently have in State Aid Roads," added Bryant. "We will add $10 million initially in short term borrowing to be able to get that to the first 36 bridges that are currently closed and blocked. State Aid Road will be able to initiate that beginning tomorrow."

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