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Jackson mayor declares infrastructure emergency

JACKSON — Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber has signed an emergency declaration for Jackson’s infrastructure system.

Thursday’s state of emergency declaration allows leeway in the bidding process with purchasing, engineering and other work and may lead to an influx of federal funds to assist with repairs.

Yarber met with Gov. Phil Bryant and representatives of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality prior to signing the declaration, according to a news release from the mayor’s office.

“The city’s aged infrastructure system has been plagued by problems for decades, but it has reached a crisis point following severe winter weather,” the release stated.

Yarber’s office said there have been “numerous water main breaks and a growing pothole problem” throughout Jackson in recent weeks.

Yarber said he was declaring the emergency to address the city’s water quality.

“The city of Jackson’s drinking water quality is among the highest in state, but the issue is our failing infrastructure,” Yarber said in the release. “I’m declaring this emergency to protect our city’s water quality. We are very serious about the quality of life we desire for residents in Jackson. With this declaration, we hope to gain access to federal funds that can expedite infrastructure repairs in this city. We have a plan to fix this.”

Between now and 2031, the city’s plan for repairs estimates Jackson needs $743 million worth of infrastructure work. The particulars of needed repairs are startling: 1,200 miles of streets, 200-plus bridges and hydraulic structures, and 1,100 miles of water main. The miles of drainage ways that are insufficient, according to the plan, were too high to count. The total cost of just those projects is $332 million.

The plan calls for $48 million of work in the first year alone.


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