PEARL RIVER COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Counties and cities across the state literally will hit the lottery if a new bill passed by the Mississippi Senate becomes law. Senate Bill 2825 would redirect $80 million of lottery revenue from the Mississippi Department of Transportation to the Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Fund for three years.
Now, Pearl River County officials are excited. The bridge on Shorty Burgess Road just outside of Picayune is the only bridge in Pearl River County closed by the state. That’s a good thing because funds are hard to come by.
District 3 Supervisor Hudson Holliday put it this way.
“You don’t have to pull your boots off to do the math that we’re in trouble on fixing our roads and bridges.” said Holliday.
This one would cost about $300,000 to repair.
Holliday and County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin are proud of their maintenance record despite financial restraints.
“Some counties had over 25 bridges that were closed,” Holliday said. “And Pearl River County has basically been able to keep them open because of the quality of work that previous administrations have done to keep our bridges. My hat’s off to them.”
Eventually, permanent work has to be done, and Lumpkin said the new money that could come from Senate Bill 2825 will go a long way to fix this bridge and 12 others with rotting timber pilings.
“We do try to take care of our roads and all,” said Holliday. “But it’s also a great help to have other pots of money to become available.”
And when it does, the result is smooth driving. The bridge north of Carriere was one of five repaired in the first round of money from the Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Fund. The detour with this was eight to 10 miles.
“When you shut a road down like that, it affects your school traffic,” said Lumpkin. “Your school buses and all that kind of stuff when they have to plan different routes.”
The ERBR Fund was established in 2018 to repair public roads and bridges maintained by the state. The Senate bill now goes to the House.
“The people expect the roads to be fixed, they want the bridges safe,” Holliday added. “The state’s got to help.”