Bridge repair

County paying 30% over estimate for replacement on Lower Myrick Road

A new bridge on Lower Myrick Road will cost about 30 percent more than estimated, but that’s the cost of doing business right now, county engineer Ronnie Clark told the Jones County Board of Supervisors.

“Since the influx of BP money, there’s a lot of bridgework going on,” Clark said. “Prices are above what you’d normally expect because there’s millions coming in to the counties.”

Only two companies bid on the Lower Myrick bridge replacement project — Magco, Inc., in Laurel and Ellis Dozer Service, LLC in Seminary. Magco bid $491,459.52 and Ellis Dozer bid $628,414.67. 

The engineer’s estimate for the project was $334,400 and the amount set aside from the BP fund was $380,000.

Most similar projects across the state are being bid at “40 to 60 percent” above estimates, Clark told the board.

“That’s the new normal, with all the money flowing in,” he said, adding that Jasper County “got no estimates” on a recent bridge project.

Clark told the board that his office solicited at least six construction companies that have done business with the county, but only received the two bids.

“If we rebid, we’d get the same result,” he said of the high bids.

Clark and engineer Wiley Pickering recommended that the board accept the bid so work can begin to replace the bridge, which goes over Swamp Creek.

“It’s in need of repair,” Pickering said.

Supervisors agreed unanimously to go ahead with the project with Magco.

The state’s BP Settlement Fund has $111 million for 128 projects across the state. Jones County received $1.2 million to replace the bridge over Tallahoma Creek on Ellisville-Tuckers Crossing Road, along with the $380,000 for the bridge on Lower Myrick.

“With that settlement money, we’ll be able to replace bridges that are over 50 years old,” Clark said.

According to state Senate Bill 2002, $50 million of the $111 million in statewide projects came from bond money in The Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act and $61 million came from money that has already been paid to the state by BP for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Of the total $750 million settlement, 75 percent will go to the six coastal counties. The Mississippi Development Authority will administer the Gulf Coast Restoration Fund with a seven-member advisory board. The Legislature will control the statewide fund. The state will receive installments of $40 million per year through 2033, starting next year.

Projects that have been earmarked in surrounding counties include $150,000 for road improvements on County Road 6 and County Road 1591 into Hol-Mac in Jasper County. Wayne County got $500,000 for sewer repair and resurfacing on Ramey Lane and MLK Jr.

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