Bridge closures still a concern

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Members of the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors discussed several bridge repairs in anticipation of state inspectors forcing closures of the worst in the area.

County Engineer Les Dungan said repairs to a number of bridges are ongoing or complete. The work to repair a bridge on Sones Chapel Road recently completed at a cost less than budgeted. Dungan said the savings were in relation to the discovery that not all pilings under the bridge needed to be replaced.

A bid submitted for the installation of a culvert on Hickory Grove Road, was submitted by Precision Construction out of Hattiesburg was approved by the Board. The bid was for $54,000 to conduct the work, which includes removal of the existing bridge. The work will also include putting rip rap on the up and down stream sides of the culvert to secure it.

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Before the Board approved the bid, doing the work in house with county employees was discussed briefly. But once Road Manager Charlie Schielder said that putting his crew on a bridge repair job would take them off road repair projects, the idea was scrapped.

Dungan said that he is still concerned that some bridges in the county will be closed once the inspectors return, which he estimates will be before the year’s end.

There is one bridge that Dungan feels county employees could repair on Lakeshore Drive that would only involve a three man crew. While no decision was made on the matter, Dungan agreed to talk with Schielder to form a plan.

During the meeting, the Board also discussed bus turnarounds. Schielder estimates there are about 150 in this county. During that discussion, District II Supervisor Malcolm Perry expressed interest in culling that list. He said that he doesn’t feel that the taxpayers of the county should be paying to maintain private roads just because they were designated as bus turnarounds. Additionally, that work takes county road crews off of other work that could be completed on roads everyone uses, Perry said. He suggested the Board consider establishing some sort of requirements before accepting a road as a bus turnaround.

No action was taken on the matter.

Tax Assessor Gary Beech addressed the Board about a number of mobile homes in the county that have become eyesores. He said there are close to 40 that are in a dilapidated state. When the idea of scrapping them was proposed, District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday advised against it since there would not be enough steel in the homes to make the effort worthwhile. Beech’s other idea to deal with the problem was to have the landowner fix the problem.

“If (the condition of the home) is marginal we assess it. If it’s not worth anything and trashing up the county, they get a tax break,” Beech said about the problem.

The next meeting will be Oct. 16 at 9 a.m.