In Tenn., Rebuilding Bridges - And Hope

In rural west Tennessee, Ford Construction Company is replacing three rickety wooden bridges. They re-hired laid off workers to do it, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann.

"I would like to see all our crews working on jobs," said Sam Baggett of Ford Construction.

This job means Robin Patterson is off unemployment for the first time since November.

"It was a lot of relief going from $60 a week to $500 or 600 a week is dramatic," Patterson said.

Patterson and his wife Tiffani almost lost their house -- and their marriage.

"We split up three times," Tiffani Patterson said. "And when he started back to work, it's like everything changed."

What changed was federal stimulus money. Tennessee received $572 million just for bridge and road projects - saving or creating 24,000 jobs.

This almost $1 million project alone put 157 people back on the job.

Tennessee has 95 counties. And by July, its stimulus money will put people to work in almost all of them.

The bridge project also gives business to 13 subcontractors and suppliers - like Williams Equipment and Supply.

"You still need more good things to happen?" Strassmann asked.

"That's right. This needs a snowball effect," said Rodney McClellan of Williams Equipment and Supply.

But it's a start - this project to rebuild bridges and hope.

  • CBSNews

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