Mississippi roads, for better or worse

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2017

We like to think the roads we travel here in Mississippi are better than those in our neighboring state of Louisiana.

In fact, for many years our neighbor was thought to have roads much worse than our own. Just take a drive along any road in a parish, rural or otherwise. Your car’s suspension will take a beating. However, according to a report released by tripnet.org, Mississippi was recently ranked as having the fifth worst roads in the nation, a more negative rank than Louisiana’s of 17th.

The bad news doesn’t stop there. The site also ranked the 25 states with the worst structurally sound bridges. While we beat Louisiana on that list, which came in at 9th, Mississippi was ranked 12th.

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To add insult to injury, Mississippi was also ranked as fourth in the list of top 25 states with the highest rural road fatality rates. Louisiana ranked 12th. Those statistics do not include fatalities on interstates, but instead they reflect the dangerous nature of our curvy, pothole-laden roads.

Our neighbor on the other side, Alabama, didn’t even make the list in any of those three categories.

We all know our roads are in need of repair. The local Board of Supervisors also knows that bridges are falling apart. In fact, the county engineer expressed concern about an upcoming inspection, fearing that assessment may lead to a number of bridges being closed, and thereby isolating a number of residents.

Our county leaders have outlined a plan to fix road and bridge issues, the only question is how long it will take to reach those goals.

We can look on the bright side in that we didn’t rank number one in any of those three negative categories, but that would be counter-productive. Instead of trying to look on the bright side, county leaders across the state need to band together to address this urgent need to find more state and federal funding to fix the problem.

Local tax dollars will not be enough to repair all of these issues in a timely manner.