Bridge of Sighs could be rebuilt

Published 12:04 am Thursday, July 28, 2011

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Trails Committee’s newest project might have “sighs” in its name, but trails coordinators are certain it will elicit “oohs” and “aahs.”

City Engineer and Trail Committee Member David Gardner said the committee has applied for two grants in hopes of rebuilding the Roth Hill Bridge of Sighs at the top of Silver Street as a part of the Natchez Trails Project.

“It’s not going to exactly replicate, but it will closely replicate the old (pedestrian) bridge that used to be there,” he said. “The original was made of wood, and this one will be made of metal, so it’ll be a lot sturdier. It’ll be able to stand across the road without support structures underneath.”

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Rebuilding the bridge should take approximately $155,500, Gardner said, and the committee applied for grants from the Departments of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Mississippi Scenic Byways program.

From the road to the bottom of the bridge, he said, it would stand at 15.5 feet.

“There are two purposes to putting it back,” Gardner said. “It’s aesthetically great to recreate what used to be there, and it would enable pedestrians to have a way to cross the street without having to get into the street, and that would add to the attraction of the trails.

“It’s just one more piece of completing the overall trail experience.”

The committee has been talking about the idea of rebuilding the Bridge of Sighs since the preliminary planning stages of the trails, he said, but they initially decided against moving forward with the idea due to budget constraints.

“Now that the first phase is completed, we’re trying to pursue some other funds to get (the bridge) taken care of,” Gardner said.

If the funding for the bridge is approved this summer, he said, hopefully, the project could begin in the spring.

The project would take a total 270 days.