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Hattiesburg bridge deemed ‘unsafe’ and closed

North 28th Street bridge closed for nine months
Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 6:18 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - A bridge in a Hattiesburg neighborhood has been closed down after being deemed unsafe.

Now residents in the area are feeling the effects of the closure.

“Now I gotta go all the way around just to go right up the street. Like I can just go five minutes up no more. Now I gotta take a 10-minute detour just to get up the street” says Derrick Bailey, a Highlands Apartment resident.

Bailey lives near the North 28th Street bridge in the Highlands community. The bridge was recently closed after Hattiesburg discovered a few safety hazards.

“Several of the wood pilings were rotten. A couple of headwalls were rotten as well and so it wasn’t safe to keep the bridge open anymore and so we made a decision late last week to immediately close it,” says Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker.

Since the bridge is less than 20 feet long, it does not undergo a mandatory inspection every year. Barker says they discovered the issue by accident while looking into another project.

“Councilman George had reached out and wanting to see if there are some ways that we can improve drainage in the immediate area and as engineers were down there looking, and at the, at the different bridge structures they came across this bridge,” says Barker.

Now the city is expecting the bridge to remain closed for the next nine months.

“If they knew something was wrong with it, [they] could have been got somebody out here to fix it already,” says Bailey.

Barker is asking residents and neighbors in the area for patience because it is a process.

“As with any infrastructure upgrade that we’ve made around the city, the first step will be entering into an agreement to replace the bridge. And getting that thing designed, hoping to go to bid first part of next year,” says Barker.

Barker also says he will work with the city council in the next few months to create an inspection process for bridges less than 20 feet long.

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