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Supervisors approve replacement of bridge

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors awarded the bid for the last bridge replacement in the county to be funded by grant money from the Emergency Bridge Replacement Program.

The bid was awarded to the lowest bidder, Precision Construction LLC, for $323,006 for replacement of a bridge on the Troy Dedeaux Road.

The ERBR funds have also been used to replace bridges on McNeill Steephollow, McNeill McHenry and Progress Silverrun roads, said Les Dungan with Dungan Engineering.

Dungan said he would like to see the ERBR program continue since it’s a “very efficient way to get bridges replaced.”

Replacement of the bridge on Troy Dedeaux Road is not expected to begin for at least six to eight weeks, he told the Board, because of a delay in bridge part production.

In a separate matter, Carriere resident Jarrod Lajuane came to the Board to ask why public buildings like Chimney Square and the Picayune City Hall are still not as accessible to the public as they were prior to the pandemic. Lajuane said his wife is a public school teacher and he did not understand why other public buildings would not be open when school buildings are.

“The whole town’s open, but those aren’t open to the public, the way they were,” he said.

Board Vice-President Malcolm Perry asked if he had been unable to access any county services, which Lajuane said he has not.

Board members said that they have no control over Picayune’s City Hall, but said they decided to leave access to some county buildings limited to protect staff from the spread of COVID-19 and because they have not had anyone come to them with concerns that they were unable to access services.
The tax office in Chimney Square is open, although in order to access services offered by some of the other county offices people must call and make an appointment, said Tax Assessor Gary Beech.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said it would be difficult for the county to post an employee at all county building doors to screen people if all buildings were fully open. Lumpkin also said that in the last two weeks more county employees have tested positive for COVID-19 than anytime previously. Keeping access limited reduces the risk that a whole department will get sick at the same time and have to shut down, he said.

The next regular Board meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 8. It is not being held on a Monday due to the Labor Day holiday.