Study finds 8 percent of Miss. bridges are structurally deficient

MISSISSIPPI — More than eight percent of Mississippi’s 16,000 bridges are structurally deficient, according to the National Bridge Index.

FOX13 found out that includes some highly traveled bridges in North Mississippi on course for being replaced or repaired.

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The American Society of Civil Engineering’s infrastructure report card gave Mississippi a D- for bridges.

The group said more than 42 percent of the bridges across the state are at least 40 years old. In 2018, 37 percent of bridges were in fair or poor condition.

MDOT said of the nearly 6,000 bridges the state maintains, only about two and a half percent are in poor condition.

The two most heavily traveled bridges in poor condition in North Mississippi are one on Highway 51 just down the road from Church Road in Horn Lake. It was built in the 1930s and it is currently on MDOT’S list to be replaced as the road is widened. They notified Southaven and Horn Lake this week.

Another bridge in Tate County at I-55 and Hickahala Creek was built in the 1950s. It is part of a $59 million replacement project.

MDOT said they do inspections every two years on most bridges and every year on high-traffic bridges.

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In 2018, Governor Phil Bryant ordered 455 pile timber bridges across the state closed.

Some, including a couple in Tunica County, are still closed.

So what needs to be done?

Mississippi’s transportation asset management plan released in 2019 said the state plans to invest about $105 dollars a year to manage bridges.

The American Society of Civil engineers said that money doesn’t come close to addressing the $1.6 billion the American Road and Transportation Builders Association estimates Mississippi needs for bridge repairs.

The American Society of Civil Engineers said the Mississippi legislature passed a funding plan back in 1987 to build roads and bridges. But the group said it did not consider future maintenance and rising construction costs.

1987 was also the last time the state raised its full tax which helps pay for roads and bridges.