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MDOT Closing Unsafe Bridges Statewide

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MDOT Closing Unsafe Bridges Statewide
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Mark Rigsby - MPB News

Dangerous bridges in Mississippi are being closed by the state Department of Transportation. MPB's Mark Rigsby spoke with motorist who say something needs to be done about the infrastructure crisis.

Four piles of dirt are being dumped, and signs posted, on this small two-lane bridge on Springridge Road, just a few mile south of Clinton. The bridge is now closed because it's unsafe. The piles of dirt are meant to discourage drivers from attempting to cross it. Melinda McGrath is Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

"If that middle span goes out, you're going to drop a good 25 feet to the bottom. There's very few vehicles that can survive that. So, it's very dangerous."

Last week, Governor Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency for more than 100 dilapidated bridges across the state. The order was in reaction to pressure from the U.S. Department of Transportation, under the threat of losing federal dollars. The House and Senate remain deadlocked over a new infrastructure plan. A man driving down Springridge Road, who didn't want to be identified, was unaware that the bridge was closed.

"I think the people who made that decision oughta travel it twice a day."

"What do you think about the road and bridge situation in this state?"

"I think it's pityful. I think it's a disgrace to this country."

Patti Warrington is from Clinton.

"It's frightening. Especially if you're in a big vehicle, a heavy vehicle, like a school bus or a fire engine."

Executive Director McGrath says prior to the state of emergency, there were already 300 bridges closed across the state. She says inspections of county bridges will continue.