Officials in Lauderdale County have taken bids on some 14 bridges that need work, which is to begin soon. Another three are awaiting the bidding process. The work is being done with about $2.5 million in state road money.
The upgrades need to be finished before the state takes the money allocated back.
The ball is already rolling on 29 of the 35 bridge replacement projects for Lauderdale County, according to state aid engineer Terrell Temple.
"All the designs are finished on the bridges, just trying to get all of the right of way," Temple said.
A new law requires over a dozen counties with unspent funds to quickly spend them before the Mississippi Department of Transportation takes that money away.
Counties have two years to start projects, but Temple says the county is using the $2.5 million allotted for bridge replacement projects.
"Those funds have been either spent already or are encumbered and under contract," Temple said.
Temple says it's not that they're sitting on the money, but getting the necessary permission from property owners in remote areas where the bridges are located has been the hang-up for many counties. But he says Lauderdale County is on right on track.
Temple says there 320 bridges in the county and 35 are eligible for state funds. He said several projects' came in under estimates. Temple says the leftover money will be used to replace even more structures.
"These funds that are allocated are for your off systems, your secondary roads. These are small bridges," said Temple. "We're not putting in what traditionally is considered a bridge."
Temple says the county will meet the 2-year deadline for the remaining projects and he says the majority of the replacements should be completed within the next 6-8 months.