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Mississippi closes another 27 unsafe bridges

The Mississippi Department of Transportation is closing 27 more local bridges that county officials did not close after inspectors found the structures to be unsafe.

The department announced the new closures Friday, bringing the total announced this week to 61. Jones and Hinds counties have the most.

Federal Highway Administration officials ordered additional inspections of many county-road bridges, focusing on those supported by timber pilings.

Transportation Department director Melinda McGrath has cited an April proclamation by Gov. Phil Bryant giving her authority to close local bridges. McGrath says the Office of State Aid Road Construction, a separate agency, ordered some bridges closed as early as September.

Federal officials have threatened Mississippi with the loss of about $530 million in federal transportation money if the state doesn’t follow federal bridge guidelines.

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