13% of Mississippi's bridges need to be replaced - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

13% of Mississippi's bridges need to be replaced

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A recent report of the 2013 National Bridge Inventory, by the U.S. Department of Transportation, indicates that 13% of Mississippi's 17,044 bridges need to be replaced, and that motorists travel over the state's structurally-compromised bridges approximately 1.2 million times every day.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) analysis of the report ranks Mississippi 10th nationally in the number of structurally deficient bridges and 14th in percentage of deficient bridges.

MDOT allotted more than $64 million to fund the replacement of 14 structurally deficient bridges across the state, another $3.6 million was utilized on routine bridge maintenance and $1.1 million was spent on bridge repairs due to vehicle crashes.  

"The report shows that the time for action is now, not years down the deteriorated road," said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath. "All of the state's roads and bridges that were constructed as a result of the 1987 four-lane highway program have a shelf life. With the current level of funding for roadway and bridge maintenance, conditions will get worse before they get better. The downgrading of posted weight limits on deficient bridges will force local businesses and school buses to seek alternate routes and hinder the delivery of goods and people in a timely manner. The need for vehicle repairs will also rise and place further financial burdens on citizens. If the call for additional support is left unchecked, the lifeline for our local and national economy will be in jeopardy."  

On April 29, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx unveiled a long-term transportation bill that will be sent to Congress for consideration as the House and Senate face looming deadlines to avoid the economic uncertainty and job loss that would ensue if the Highway Trust Fund runs out of money this summer.

The plan addresses the nation's infrastructure deficit with a $302 billion, four-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal.

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