Mississippi Department of Transportation crews are in the process of closing down 23 bridges in Jones County.
State road crews are closing bridges across the state following an order signed by Gov. Phil Bryant on April 9. The order declared a state of emergency over bridge safety and ordered the immediate closure of more than 100 bridges throughout the state. Twenty-three of those bridges are in Jones County.
Emergency Operations Center Deputy Director Rodney Parker said 18 bridges in Jones County were closed Monday. The remaining five will be closed Tuesday.
"We have a huge concern of routing emergency vehicles to answer 9-1-1 calls for the police, ambulance and fire services," Parker said. "It's important to us to have a good response time. So, that is why it's concerning to us. "
MDOT crews hit the streets closing the bridges. Rotten wooden pilings, cracked concrete and splintered foundations were just a few of the issues with the bridges.
"These are in direct relation to national bridge inspection protocol that was done on the county structures and showed that some of these bridges are not able to support the loads that are going across them now," said Kelly Castleberry, District Engineer for the 6th District for MDOT.
Castleberry said through the governor, the Department of Public Safety and MDOT, they hold the health and life safety of the public paramount.
"And that is why we are out here today to try and ensure we get the bridges shut down and give the counties and board of supervisors the chance to come up with a plan to fix the structures, so they can get them back open," Castleberry said. "I think there is a little bit of miscommunication. A lot of folks think these bridges will be shut down for a long time. They don't necessarily have to be. A lot of the repairs can be made in two days to a week."
Castleberry said right now the main concern is safety.
"I can tell you the county is doing everything they can do to try and get the situation resolved," Parker said.
The following bridges in Jones County have been closed:
There’s no timeline at this point for how long the bridges will remain closed.