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Sulphur Mayor Chris Duncan. (American Press)

Sulphur Mayor Chris Duncan. (American Press)

Sulphur OKs funds for Lightning St. bridge rebuild

Last Modified: Saturday, February 16, 2013 1:26 AM

By Natalie Stewart / American Press

The city of Sulphur is continuing its effort to reconstruct or rehabilitate bridges throughout the city.

The next bridge on the list is the Lightning Street bridge — between Starlin Drive and Taylor Street.

On Monday, City Council members unanimously approved the transfer of funds to repair the Maple Fork bridges ­— on Maplewood Drive between Cities Service Highway and Ann Avenue — to the reconstruction of the Lightning Street bridge, a $1.2 million project.

“The funding was originally set up to mitigate bridges,” said John Bruce, public works director. “Both of these bridges were underwater during past hurricanes, and the Lightning Street bridge was included in our original application for funding, but it didn’t get funded.”

Bruce said the funding, a federal disaster recovery block grant, is being transferred because the cost to repair the Maple Fork bridge surpassed the estimated cost and the available funding.

“Transferring the funding to the Lightning Street bridge project is a better use of the program,” he said. “We reviewed it, and we will be accomplishing the same objective on the Lightning Street bridge that we would have on the Maple Fork bridge, but it makes for better use of those funds.”

Bruce said the bridge will be replaced with one that is higher to avoid being affected by high water — similar to what was done on Logan and Verdine streets.

“Raising the bridge will improve its reliability and make it more resistant to high water,” he said. “We won’t have to worry about long detours for emergency vehicles in the event of a high-water situation.”

Bruce said there is not an estimated date for when the project will begin because it’s “a long process,” but he doesn’t expect it within the next 18 months.

City officials will pursue funding for the reconstruction of the Maple Fork bridge, which will also be reconstructed, through a different program.

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