Taking Back Our Neighborhood-South Street Bridge Out - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Taking Back Our Neighborhood-South Street Bridge Out

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The mission is to get and keep business in downtown Jackson, but there's a roadblock to commerce for some folks in the capital city. I was asked to check it out. I did and here's what I found in this Taking Back Our Neighborhoods report.

The Smith brothers, and their family before them, have been repairing cars in downtown Jackson since the 1940's.

Dan Smith said, "It's really hurting our business..."

They have a hard time understanding why the city of Jackson can't fix a bridge on South Street, connecting their business to traffic, that's been out for almost a year-and-a-half now.

Dan Smith said, "One out of three people; we have to direct them. We have to get them back around to Court Street to get them here and it's affecting our business a little bit and they promised that they would have the bridge fixed August of last year. And you can see that they haven't even started on it."

Sonny Gallman drove up while we were shooting the bridge. He says the blockage has affected his auto detailing business... more than a little.

Gallman said, "Money-wise, it cost me 86-thousand dollars in lost revenue last year."

He continued, "I had as many as 10 employees down here at one time; now I have 3."

The bridge being out, not only affects businesses in the area. The Jackson Fire Department can't go straight down South Street to answer a call.

Dan Smith said, "We watch them every day. Instead of taking a straight shot down South Street, they have to do the loop around Court Street and come out and head to Gallatin Street if there's a fire up that way."

Chuck Smith said, "It's an inconvenience for them as well. They park some of their fire trucks on Court Street."

Sonny Gallman said, "You know, I love Jackson. I wanna stay in Jackson, but I can't stay here with this bridge out."

Chuck Smith said, "We are a taxpaying business; have been since the 40's in downtown Jackson and like to get it taken care of."

In an emailed statement from Dr. Charles Williams, interim director of Public Works for the City of Jackson, Williams said, "The South Street Bridge was closed in 2013 due to structural instability threatening the welfare and safety of motorist traveling across the bridge daily. The information from the Mississippi Office State Aid has given the bridge structure a sufficiency rating of 31.6 based on the most recent inspection. The structure built in 1914 is well past its life cycle to accommodate current vehicular traffic loading. The City of Jackson advertised for potential contractors to remove and replace the bridge this year. The Department of Public Works will present to the Jackson City Council on Tuesday June 17, 2014 for approval to execute a contract with Dozer, LLC of Natchez, MS to remove and replace the bridge structure. The City of Jackson anticipates construction to start August 2014 with a completion date of November 2014 weather permitting."

We will keep you posted. Let us help you take back your neighborhood. Just send an email to hballou@wlbt.com or contact me on Facebook or Twitter.

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