Description:

In Southwest Mississippi, way out in the pines, there are no bridges to nowhere.

Every bridge on every road, whether black and striped or dusty with gravel, carries teachers, farmers, firefighters, paramedics, linesmen, families. When the older, timber-framed bridges began to be targeted for closure by federal bridge inspectors in late 2016, the impact on rural communities was far-reaching, and a circle of blame developed that led to the highest political circles in Mississippi.

With Dungan Engineering helping both boards of supervisors track closures, identify appropriate repairs and pull together funding, supervisors in Lawrence and Lincoln repaired or replaced around 60 bridges in 18 months — seven in Lawrence County and more than 50 in Lincoln — to keep rural areas safe and connected. Engineers with Dungan kept a close eye on the roving federal bridge inspectors and were ready to post or close spans as soon as possible, even preempting closure orders in some instances.

By the summer of 2018, as other counties in Mississippi continued to wail and whine — a couple of counties sued the governor in an attempt to reopen unsafe bridges — Lawrence and Lincoln Counties were emerging from beneath the cloud, a sight shorter of transportation money but without a single incident or injury.

 

Client:

Supervisors of Lawrence and Lincoln Counties

Service Area:

Lawrence and Lincoln Counties


Supervisors in Lawrence and Lincoln Counties didn’t point any fingers. They just blamed the old timber, and started knocking the condemned bridges down like a house of cards.

Dungan Engineering helped Lawrence County stay far out in front of the game. There, the board closed down three bridges as soon as the inspections began and were already securing a $2 million bond for their replacement. In Lincoln County — which started the bridge crisis with the second-highest amount of timber-framed bridges in the state — supervisors diverted a $5 million bond intended for paving roads and turned the whole amount toward bridge repair. Dungan’s engineers modeled each bridge site carefully to ensure the county’s funds stretched like a rubber band — money was saved by reusing solid components like concrete decks and railing wherever possible, and smaller bridges were replaced with sturdy but low-cost culverts whenever hydraulic limits allowed.

Professional Services Provided

Planning, Design, Construction Administration and Inspection

Construction Budget

$5 Million

Completion Date

Summer 2018

Constructor(s)

T.L. Wallace