Dungan outlines planned bridge projects

Published 11:57 pm Saturday, February 11, 2012

Last week, county engineer Les Dungan told supervisors that he was recommending that the board accept as complete a bridge replacement project on Holden Road and release the contractor. The board on Monday voted to accept the bridge as complete.

In addition, Dungan told the board he was programming for replacement four bridges on the northern end of Spring Hill Road and recommended designating about $750,000 in federal money and $250,000 in matching state-aid money to finance the project. The board also accepted that recommendation.

He said that the four bridges are in a series and that upgrading them will “open up” Spring Hill Road to more use by lifting weight restrictions on the bridges.

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He said one of the bridges is in such bad shape that it is posted as being able to handle no more than 10,000 lbs.

He said it would take an estimated two years to complete the replacements, but when they are completed, they should last over 50 years.

He said he would recommend that the bridges be completely replaced and that no material from the bridges be recycled back into their reconstruction.

He added he was also reprogramming three other bridges, one each on E.T. Poole, J.J. Holcomb and J.M. Tynes roads that were delayed when emergency bridge replacement projects were needed on Sones Chapel Road near McNeill and Jackson Landing Road south of Picayune.

Dungan told supervisors that during this four-year term that the board would have access to about $7 million in state-aid funds. State-aid monies come from gasoline taxes on gas sold in the state. A portion of those taxes are returned to counties for upgrade and maintenance of what is called farm-to-market roads.

Dungan said there are about 165 bridges in the county that the board of supervisors is responsible for maintaining and repairing. He said that during the last four-year term, 21 bridges in the county were either replaced or rehabilitated.

“Last term we had a real good production on either the replacement or rehabilitation of bridges in the county, and we expect the same thing during this term,” he said.

“Our list of bridges do need attention, and, of course, these four on Spring Hill Road were in bad need of repair because of their timber piling,” he added.

He said work on Savannah-Millard Road had been programmed and work on the Barth Road project is next in line to come.

He said the Barth Road bridge was constructed during the WPA era and that two cars have to squeeze by one another, and trucks can’t simultaneously cross the bridge.

“If we need to discuss it further, we can,” said Dungan.

Dungan also handed out a map to supervisors, compiled from the state-aid inspection done in December, that showed the roads needing surface maintenance work.

He said each of the colored roads on the map were eligible for state-aid maintenance funding.