NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - State transportation officials have included $18 million for work in Adams County as part of a five-year plan.
Mississippi Department of Transportation officials told The Natchez Democrat the local priorities are bridge maintenance, landslide repair and improvements to two intersections.
"Some of these items are the result of a statewide initiative, not just Adams County," said MDOT engineer Albert White.
Other projects are uniquely Natchez.
Those include ongoing maintenance of the Mississippi River Bridge, for which almost $2.2 million has been allocated.
"If it's a statewide priority or a safety concern, those take priority," White said.
Bridge maintenance is a priority for MDOT and it has to be, said David Gardner, an engineer for the City of Natchez.
"It's a metal bridge that's out in the elements and built in the 1930s," Gardner said. "The pins helping hold everything together need to be replaced."
Even painting such a structure is essential, Gardner said, noting that otherwise corrosion would set in.
Landslide repair is also important especially with Natchez's type of soil, Gardner said.
"Slides happen because the clay in our soil makes the soil expand," Gardner said.
Although the city does not have a part in planning or funding state projects, Gardner said meetings with local officials have been held.
"Sometimes (MDOT) will hold public meetings just as a courtesy to the local community," he said. "They're not required to. They've invested a lot of money in this area, and we certainly appreciate it," he said.
The five-year plan projects the cost of maintenance of the Mississippi River bridge at $11.5 million. Landslide repair near the intersection of Mississippi Highway 555 and U.S. Highway would cost $4.5 million with another $2.75 million for repairing landslides near the intersection of U.S. 61 and Highland Boulevard.
Information from: The Natchez Democrat. Article written by the Associated Press (AP).