More than 2000 bridges in Mississippi are in need of repair and Gov. Phil Bryant just closed 83 of them

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Gov. Phil Bryant has ordered the immediate shutdown of 83 Mississippi bridges after a Federal Highway Administration report revealed local authorities didn’t close them after they were deemed unsafe.

The United States Department of Transportation informed Bryant of the FHWA’s findings on April 5, along with the “potential consequences” for Mississippi if the bridges remained open.

“Keeping them open constitutes an unnecessary risk to public safety, violates the corrective action plan agreed upon by the state and federal government and jeopardizes federal infrastructure funds Mississippi receives,” Bryant said Tuesday.

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MORE: Here are Mississippi’s busiest structurally deficient bridges 

One out of every 10 bridges in Mississippi is structurally deficient, according to the FHWA’s 2017 National Bridge Inventory released in 2018.

Bridges are often inspected for signs of deterioration and rated on a zero-to-nine scale (nine being excellent condition). A bridge is deemed structurally deficient when a structural element receives a rating of four or below (poor or worse condition).

While the rating doesn’t necessarily mean the structure is unsafe to use, it does indicate repairs are needed.

MORE: Let’s stop talking about Mississippi’s infrastructure woes and do something about it

Of Mississippi’s 17,072 bridges, 7,317 of them need repair, according to FHWA data. Six of Mississippi’s 2,008 structurally deficient bridges are part of the Interstate Highway System.

According to data gathered by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, bridge investment in Mississippi has accounted for 24 percent of contract awards in the past five years, compared to the national average of 29 percent.

Read Bryant’s proclamation in full:

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