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Bad Bridge

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JEFFERSON COUNTY (KATV) -

Trying to do the best job...for the greatest number of people...with the money available.

That's part of the job for any elected official.

One county judge in office for 15 months now... is still trying to find that balance.

His latest dilemma involves eight families in Jefferson County are currently being greatly inconvenienced.

But also great will be the cost to improve things for them.

This bridge on Jefferson County's Quattlebaum road has been closed for over a year.

"We inherited a bridge that was in horrible condition," says Jefferson County Judge Dutch King. "Very unsafe. The state recommended that we do something...like shut it down. And that is exactly what we did because it was unsafe."

After it was closed, it collapsed.

What used to take mere seconds to cross this creek now requires a detour of many miles and many minutes.

"To me it is quite inconvenient because I farm in Altheimer and I have to drive...oooooo...an extra probably six, eight miles twice...sometimes four times a day," says Marvin "bear" Williams, one of the residents impacted by the closed bridge.

The county judge says farmers need the bridge most, but it was also big farming vehicles that did the most damage.

About 25 people are waiting on a fix that could cost one million dollars.

"Well they told us first they didn't have the money," says Williams. "Then later on they said they was trying to appropriate the money."

The county has applied for and been approved for state funds to help rebuild the bridge. And the county has put up its share of the cost...$20,000.

State surveyors have already visited.

"We don't know what the time frame is right now," says County Judge King. "But you know them doing their preliminary work...that's a beginning so its just a matter of time...we're on the list and its just a matter of time of them getting around to it."

County Judge King remains hopeful that a new bridge will be in place by the end of the summer, or at least by the end of the year.

Air date: March 24th, 2014

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