Bridge closure lawsuit filed by two Mississippi counties now pending in court
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - A Hinds County Chancery Judge is not making an immediate ruling in a case involving mandated bridge closures. Jasper and Smith County officials spent Friday in court. They object to the Governor's recently mandated bridge closures.
An attorney from the attorney general's office said counties are subjecting citizens to what she would call a game of Russian roulette.
Jasper County resident Curt Pouncy says he would've rather had that risk than what they have now.
"I live basically right in between where the two bridges are closed in the Fellowship community," he described. "Basically it has just kind of isolated our community really."
The state tried to prove that county supervisors were made aware of the bridge deficiencies and say they were notified in November and February that some of their bridges needed to be repaired or closed. One supervisor testified he had never seen those letters, but Pouncy says the impact of the closures has already posed problems.
"I haven't even thought about the possibility of a bridge being unsafe," explained Pouncy. "And as far as what outweighs...you know, the access to emergency vehicles far outweighs, in my opinion, any imminent danger as far as a bridge collapsing."
Just this week, two people in the community died, including his neighbor who had a heart attack.
"From talking to people in the community, it was quite a time lapse there from the time it actually occurred to the time that the ambulance was able to get there," said Pouncy.
They say there is an alternate route but it takes anywhere from 15-20 extra minutes and isn't always an option.
"For us to get out of that, you have to really get on roads that are dirt roads for a distance," added Pouncy. "And when it rains it's just going to be inaccessible."
The court proceedings didn't wrap up until after 4:00 p.m. Friday. Judge William Singletary did not make a ruling but says it will come in writing in the near future.
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