George County to temporary close Merrill Bridge - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

George County to temporary close Merrill Bridge

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The Merrill Bridge is designated as an official Mississippi Landmark by the state's Department of Archives and History. (Photo source: George Co. Board of Supervisors) The Merrill Bridge is designated as an official Mississippi Landmark by the state's Department of Archives and History. (Photo source: George Co. Board of Supervisors)
GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

One of the oldest metal span bridges in the State of Mississippi is being closed for repairs after an inspection found it was no longer safe for vehicle traffic. 

George County Supervisors voted this week to close the Merrill Bridge over the Pascagoula River as a safety precaution. 

Earlier this year, the Merrill Bridge underwent special inspection as part of a statewide examination of all "fracture critical and/or complex bridges." Review of the 84 year old spans indicated several of the bridge's support joints and turn buckles are suffering from accelerated oxidation damage and need to be replaced or repaired.

The Board received the official inspection results on July 2.

Closing the bridge will have a big impact on some residents. Supervisor Larry Havard said drivers will have an 18 mile detour around the Merrill crossing. That's why he voted against the temporary closure. 

In anticipation of detour traffic, Supervisors also passed a resolution requesting MDOT to post extra height and safety warnings on the Highway 26 Pascagoula River Bridge.

County Engineer Bob Diamond will present short term solutions at the July 25 Board of Supervisors meeting. 

The Merrill Bridge is designated as an official Mississippi Landmark by the state's Department of Archives and History.

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