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Work complete on Burnt Bridge Rd.

Talk about being in the right place at the right time, with the right plans! Pearl River County’s ship came in on one project.

On Feb. 17, 2009, Congress passed what was called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and four days later President Obama signed it into law.

The bill envisioned spending $787 billion, which became known as the “stimulus funds” that were supposed to jog the economy back into hyper-drive.

Included in that appropriation was $275 billion for infrastructure projects, and the word “shovel ready” was bandied about by federal officials.

What officials meant was that they were looking for infrastructure projects that were ready to go immediately, so the projects could help jump-start the economy.

And a light bulb went off in someone’s head at MDOT and the county pertaining to a project on Burnt Bridge Road, a much needed project.

The plans, according to Pearl River County Engineering Consultant Less Dungan, had already been drawn up and were resting on a shelf, waiting for funding to come along.

Those plans were dusted off and submitted as a project, and were funded.

The section of road was from Burnt Bridge on Burnt Bridge Road up to New Palestine Baptist Church, where Burnt Bridge Road becomes Palestine Road.

The project was bid out at $2 million, paid for with the federal stimulus funds, and Buford Construction Co. of Vicksburg was awarded the contract from the county.

“It was a project that was actually ready to go with no delay. All the paperwork and planning on it was complete, and all it was waiting for was the funding and awarding of the project,” said Dungan.

Dungan told supervisors last week that the project was completed.

The road remained closed for a year while the project was underway.

Replaced on a short, maybe two-mile stretch of road, was four bridges. The actual

Burnt Bridge was replaced several years ago and is in good shape, says Dungan. It spans the main Hobolochitto Creek.

The four old dilapidated bridges were replaced.

Burnt Bridge Road drops off of Palestine Road at the New Palestine Baptist Church and crosses the Hobolochitto flood plane, thus the need for the four bridges to allow for proper drainage.

After Dungan formally notifies the board of supervisors that the project is complete, supervisors then formally spread on the minutes their decision of accepting the bridge replacement project, which they did last week.

The four bridges replaced are in a series, one after the other, stretching across the creek’s flood plane, and relieving the water pressure against the main bridge during high water flows.

Said Dungan, “The four bridges replaced by the project were approximately 50 years old and were supported by timber piling. The aging timber bridge components had required that all truck traffic be prohibited across the old bridges.”

It took about one year to complete the project, Dungan told supervisors.

There’s debate even now on whether or not the stimulus plan worked, but there is one thing that is not debatable: Pearl River County got a much-needed project funded out of the deal.