Many county bridges closed in new state inspection

By PAT BROWN,
The more the day progressed on Monday the more it appeared that more and more bridges would be closed.
A new inspection process has been adopted by the state that had originally been the responsibility of the local county engineer. Inspection has now been taken over by the conglomerate, Michael Baker International.  
While the fees associated with the new inspectors have not been disclosed it appears they will be substantially higher.  The county has been paying $400 per inspection to Wolverton Engineering per bridge inspected.  
The bridges being inspected are state aid bridges on state aid roads.  Calls placed to the Michael Baker International office in Ridgeland were deferred to State Aid Engineering, specifically to David Barret.
The bridges in the county ordered closed by Mississippi Department of Transportation Office of State Aid are:
-Saratoga Sharon Road Bridge #97 near Highway 28.
-New Hope Road Bridge #109 near Highway 49.
-Graveyard Board Bridge #149.
-Tom Berry Road Bridge #21 near Highway 49.
-Jupiter Road Bridge #11 (towards Highway 28 past Robert Bush Road.)
-Macedonia Road Bridge #24.
-Van Zandt Road Bridge #73.
-Jake Barnes Road Bridge #124.
According to Barret, the bridges being inspected were those that have timber pilings.  Barret could not give an anticipated repair cost on the bridges and added that the federal government  wanted an outside agency to do the inspections.  
Barret said the company is billing the state by the job in a monthly invoice.  
Barrett was asked if the process is being changed because the State Legislature is not increasing funding for MDOT.   He responded, “Absolutely not.”
When asked who would be responsible for repairing the bridges since they were state aid roads, Barrett said that was up to the county.  He said he was unsure if the process would remain a state responsibility or would be shifted back to the county.