"Most people build or purchase one house a lifetime. Virtually every bridge that has to be replaced in the county costs more than the average house," says Lauderdale County state aid engineer Terrell Temple.
With a price tag of roughly $100,000 for basic work, Temple says it's a lack of funds which is hindering much needed bridge repairs in Mississippi. According to the Federal Highway Administration, almost 3,400 bridges need to be replaced in Mississippi and 3,021 in Alabama.
Although the numbers have decreased somewhat in recent years, Temple says the need for bridge repairs in Mississippi is not just a want, but instead a dire need.
Temple says most of the bridges in Lauderdale County were built to hold up to a 57,000 load. However, in recent years the Legislature increased the maximum load limit to at least 80,000 pounds, meaning, "The county has to build another house, if you will!"
The problem Temple says is when it comes to money, there's little or next to none.
"Again, the bridges that we are replacing are not always eligible for other funding in general."
In the end Temple says the answer is plain and simple; good roads and bridges can lead to good businesses locating in the area and therefore lead to good jobs. This is something which he calls a win-win situation for all!
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