The Washington County Board of Supervisors has given the go ahead for engineers to add the City of Leland’s Breisch Street bridge to its list of bridges to be repaired.
During their regular Monday meeting, board members voted unanimously to approve the addition, which will be a project paid for by county funds appropriated specifically for bridge repairs and other infrastructural needs.
IMS Engineers project manager Tommy Avant made the request during the BOS’ previous meeting on March 15, as a report showed the county does not have Local System Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program (LSBP) funds to be utilized for the bridge.
According to Avant, the estimated cost of repairs for the bridge is $729,000.
“We’re going to make sure we reduce these costs,” Avant said.
The BOS’ general consensus at its previous meeting was that the requested addition did not meet the criteria in terms of priority given that the bridge is located within the corporate limits of Leland and residents are dependent upon the repair of other bridges for access and safety concerns.
Both BOS president Carl McGee and vice president Lee Gordon highlighted the Broadway Extended repaving as high on the list of projects that need to be underway.
McGee said at the BOS’ prior meeting, “My concern is that we make these commitments inside corporate limits, and we don’t fulfill the ones we have in the county like Broadway Extended…this is a road we’ve been talking about for the last couple of years now.”
District 5 Supervisor Jerry Redmond also pointed out there were bridges in his district facing circumstances of inaccessibility and safety if they aren’t repaired.
Gordon added, “The only thing that concerns me is if we’ve got other bridges where people can’t get in and out, where, as far as priority, we’re going in getting bridges done.”
He made a motion to postpone the addition of the Leland bridge, District 2 Supervisor Tommy Benson gave the second and the motion carried unanimously noting the absence of District 4 Supervisor Mala Brooks.
On Monday, however, the BOS learned the LSBP Breisch Road bridge met the necessary criteria as there have been similar projects performed by the county in the past whereas a municipal bridge in the LSBP program was repaired using county resources.
Although the LSBP funds have been exhausted as they have already been allocated for other projects, Gordon said the county is in a position to take care of repair costs for the bridge due to the funds under budgeting has yielded.
“What we’re operating off of now is because we’ve been able to come in under budget the last four years, from about $2 (million) to $5 million dollars a year,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is add those additional funds into infrastructure.”