A map shows the location of three bridges, with yellow markers, that the city of Starkville is seeking funding for. The city is requesting for money from the state's $250 million Emergency Road and Bridge program to repair bridges on Old West Point Road, Barret Drive and leading from Victory Lane onto Starkville High School's campus. Photo by: Alex Holloway/Dispatch Staff
December 6, 2018 10:56:28 AM
Starkville aldermen have authorized applications for three city bridges to receive emergency repair funding from the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
Aldermen approved the item as part of the consent agenda from Tuesday's meeting, which means it was approved unanimously without discussion along with other agreed-upon matters.
The city hopes to receive funding for bridges on Old West Point Road, Barrett Drive and another bridge that connects Victory Lane to Starkville High School's main campus.
City Engineer Edward Kemp said each of the three bridges is "posted," meaning inspections have found a deficiency. Every bridge in Oktibbeha County is inspected on a semi-annual basis. Bridges that reach a certain deficiency level are posted and can have their weight limit reduced.
"Those are the three within the city limits that are classified as posted," Kemp said. "From a classification standpoint, they are the ones in the worst condition."
Kemp said the city has not yet determined an estimated cost for the bridge repairs. He said that should be determined as the city finalizes its applications to submit. Tuesday's approval was needed, he said, to have a board order to submit the applications before the Dec. 15 deadline because the board's next regular meeting is Dec. 18.
MDOT is overseeing the Emergency Road and Bridge Repair program, which the state Legislature funded with $250 million from the state's gaming tax in August's special session. The program is competitive, and cities and counties across the state are applying to get funding for various projects.
Kemp said the Old West Point Road Bridge has been on the city's capital improvement drainage list. About half of that list is funded, which includes $100,000 per year for four years. The Old West Point Road Bridge is an unfunded project on the list, due to what Kemp said would likely be a "pretty significant cost" for replacing it.
Kemp also noted the Starkville High School bridge sees a significant amount of school bus traffic.
"The thing about these particular projects is that a bridge replacement is a really costly endeavor," Kemp said. "It's a great opportunity to apply for these state funds to replace these bridges, instead of using our capital improvement drainage funds. Our drainage budget just cannot accommodate the scale of these types of projects."
Mayor Lynn Spruill acknowledged Starkville will be competing for money, but she is hopeful the city will receive funding.
"Obviously, there are bridge needs throughout the state," Spruill said. "I think our projects rise to the level of being worthy of being considered. Safety is always paramount. This is one of those efforts to be sure we're being as cognizant as we can to our safety needs and trying to find what works best for fixing those needs."
Oktibbeha County is applying for funding to repair 10 bridges in the county. Lowndes County is applying for applying for funding for three bridges.
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