HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A bridge reconstruction project is causing a big detour for drivers in Hancock County. Even though the detour may cause headaches, the progress is something people say has been a long time coming.
With every pounding drive of the new concrete pilings into the ground, the reconstructed bridge on Rocky Hill Dedeaux Rd. in Hancock County takes shape. What used to stand in the gap was a paved wooden and steel bridge deemed unsafe by bridge inspectors.
"In the county we have three bridges that we consider critical, this being one of them," said county roads manager Vic Johnson.
According to Johnson, bridges are inspected every two years, and the county is in a new phase of working to check off the bridges needing repair or reconstruction.
"We're trying to do at least two bridges a year, one with our county funds and one with our state aid funds," said Johnson.
This particular bridge falls in the state aid funded category. The work is being done by the state to the tune of almost $660,000 on a 120-day contract.
"They've been on it now approximately a month and a half, so they've got quite a bit to go," said Johnson.
In the meantime, a detour is in place that takes drivers at least an extra 15 minutes out of the way. For people who live nearby, like Paul Ladner, the pain of the detour is worth it.
"It was in bad shape. It needed it. They go around inspecting bridges, and thank God they inspected it. It needed it bad," said Ladner.
Ladner remembers the old bridge's weight limit being lowered to 6,000 pounds before the decision was made to tear it down and start over. According to Johnson, the new bridge will be sturdy enough to handle any traffic that travels over it.
"It's a blessing for this road, for the school buses and people that travel it," said Ladner.
There are two more critical bridges on the county's radar to be repaired or reconstructed in the next several years. One is in the White Cypress Lakes subdivision. The other is on Flat Top Rd.