By The Associated Press
OXFORD — Repairs to the Taylor Creek Bridge on Mississippi Highway 328 in Lafayette County may not begin until October 2014 because of funding reductions to the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
The Oxford Eagle reports that the timber deck and stringers on the bridge near the Taylor community had been damaged in the past two years. MDOT said it was forced to close the busy bridge to prevent any harm to motorists.
MDOT announced earlier this year that the state would replace all eight wooden bridges on Highway 328. MDOT had purchased land for the new wider bridges and the project was set to begin this month. The estimated cost for the new bridges is $9.1 million.
However, Mitch Turner of MDOT said the project was pushed back to 2014 due to budget cuts.
“The fact that this bridge has deteriorated to the point of our concern about the safety, we have but one thing to do and that is to close the bridge,” Turner said. “The fact that the bridge has closed will most likely have some effect on when this bridge will be replaced.”
He said MDOT engineers in Jackson will have to determine whether the bridge can be replaced sooner.
Turner said the state will continue to keep the public informed on when the bridge may be repaired.