Bridges on 198 closeBy CHARLIE SMITH,
Two closed bridges on Mississippi 198 in Columbia are scheduled to be replaced in January 2020 at an estimated cost of $10 million.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation is waiting for high water to go down to evaluate whether to make repairs to reopen the structures in the meantime, District 7 Engineer Albert White said.
MDOT closed the path between Lumberton Road and U.S. 98 Friday after a re-inspection showed decaying wooden piles under the bridges.
The Marion County Board of Supervisors complained last year that federal inspectors were immediately closing down county bridges but leaving open similar state bridges, specifically the ones on 198.
The highway is the primary way to get downtown from the west end of the county and has about 3,000 cars a day, according to state traffic counts. Drivers will now have to go about a mile-and-a-half further down 98 to Lumberton Road or take Old Foxworth Road.
It might take awhile before that detour changes. White said the area that needs to be repaired is under water. Once it goes down, MDOT plans to go in and see what it’s going to take to make the repairs, he said.
A repair may not be feasible, though, because replacement is slated to begin in 12 months. MDOT is about to start acquiring right-of-way and then will move utilities. It plans to close the road down when it replaces the bridges but will do it one at a time to allow access to properties between them.
Pictured Above: A rusty pipe is seen along one of the bridges on Mississippi 198. The state closed the bridges Friday because of decaying wooden pilings underneath. | Photo by Charlie Smith