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Area paper companies will fund new bridge

Area paper companies have offered funding to repair a bridge, which is needed by log trucks in southeast Perry County.

Gulf States Paper, International Paper, Buchanan Paper and Weyerhauser together are proposing paying approximately $15,600 to repair the wooden bridge over Bucks Creek on the Perryville-Centreville Road (County Road 69).

The county is proposing to put a new deck on the bridge, which was originally built in 1977, said county engineer Danny Overton. The project will cost approximately $18,312.60, he said

Commissioner Albert Turner expressed concern that the county is repairing a wooden bridge and not replacing it with a concrete one. “We need to get out of the wood bridge business,” Turner said.

A concrete bridge would cost as much as $400,000, Overton said, and the bridge is used almost exclusively for log truck traffic. There are maybe five cars a day on the bridge.

The bridge is currently rated at a weight limit so log trucks should not use it, Overton said, however the trucks continue to travel over the bridge.

Turner also complained about the damage log trucks were doing to county roads. He wants the paper companies to pay the full price of the bridge repair.

Overton said he was not sure that the proposed repair would do enough to raise the weight limit. He considers the repair “a band aid.”

Commissioner Brett Harrison reminded the commission that the bridge was the ultimate responsibility of the county to maintain.