JACKSON – Yalobusha County could receive $1 million to help fund the demolition and replacement of the Gum’s Crossing bridge on County Road 221.
Representative Tommy Reynolds reported Tuesday that the allocation is included in House Bill 1730, a bond bill that has over $80 million in funding for capital projects.
Reynolds explained the money would be a big boost to help fund the replacement of the bridge, a project estimated to cost $12 million. The Federal Highway Administration will fund 80 percent of the estimated cost and the county will be required to match 20 percent of the cost.
“The federal government has come through with assistance and there are a lot of people in the county interested in this,” Reynolds said about the state funding that can be used as part of the matching money required by the county.
Reynolds said support has come from multiple counties for the project to be included in the bond bill. On Tuesday morning, both the House and Senate filed conference reports and Reynolds said the bridge allocation remained in the bond bill. He was optimistic that the bill will get passed late Tuesday.
The bridge has been closed since February, 2019, forcing residents who live on the south side of Skuna River to detour at least an extra 60 miles each day to get to Coffeeville or other areas of the county.
“I am very pleased, if this bills gets through, it will be a huge boost to our county,” District 5 Supervisor Gaylon Gray noted. Gray noted the detour affects school buses, emergency personnel and even road work in his district. He cited cleanup after storms earlier in the year, when his crews had to transport equipment along the lengthy detour to get from one end of his district to the other side.
“It takes an hour and a half to get from one end of this district to another in a low boy truck hauling equipment at night,” Gray explained, a reference to clearing downed trees after a storm.
District 5 is the largest of the county’s five districts and stretches across southern Yalobusha County from Tillatoba to Clear Springs.
“It is hard for a county with an $8 million (annual) budget to build a $12 million dollar bridge,” Gray added.