Meeting planned for bridge repairs
by Daniel Gaddy
Jun 08, 2012 | 1177 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CARBON HILL — During the Carbon Hill City Council’s meeting Thursday, Mayor Chris Hart agreed to meet with Walker County Commissioner Dan Wright to discuss applying for a state grant to improve Mill Creek Bridge.

Hart and several council members have said Mill Creek Bridge has deteriorated much faster than comparable roadways because of heavy traffic during the construction of Interstate 22.

Wright told the council that the bridge qualifies for the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP).

The state program will fund nearly $300 million worth of roadway projects, particularly those that address public safety, economic development or community connectivity.

Hart said there is no question that the condition of the bridge represents a public safety concern. With Carbon Hill High School located less than a mile from the bridge, he said the deteriorated roadway puts young drivers at a higher risk of a car wreck.

Hart also said that, if the bridge was damaged in a disaster, access to the city would be extremely limited.

Wright estimated the cost of repairing the bridge at $1.9 million. He said that the grant requires municipalities to provide 20 percent of in-kind contributions, which would be $400,000 for the City of Carbon Hill.

Wright told the council it is imperative that city officials send all of the information needed to the state officials overseeing grant applications.

“I just need to know what we need to have,” Hart said.

Hart and Wright agreed to meet with a county engineer before the council’s meeting at 6 p.m. on June 21.

“We are just going to have to work together,” Wright said.

In other business:

- The council heard an update from Hart regarding city ordinances for dilapidated or abandoned properties. Hart said that, after consulting with city attorneys and the Alabama League of Municipalities, the City of Carbon Hill will follow state law in regard to nuisance properties, rather than creating its own ordinance.

According to the statute, municipalities can send a notice to the owner of the property, who has 45 days to respond. The owner can either fix the problem or challenge the municipality’s findings with an appeal. After 45 days, the council can repair or destroy the property and send the owner payment information.

Hart added that state code also has a clause allowing the council to order an emergency demolition when residents are in danger due to the condition of a property.

The council agreed to appoint a city worker to identify the nuisance properties in the city. Hart said he would like to have 10 properties ready to deem nuisances by the next council meeting on June 21.

•The council approved the purchase of a 5-foot statue for the City of Carbon Hill’s monument honoring coal miners. It will cost $12,000 (including installation).

The memorial will be placed near City Hall. Hart said the funds for the monument will come out of an account set up specifically for the project.

•Council members announced that city leaders are still accepting applications for a spot on the Carbon Hill Industrial Development Board. All applications must be in before the next council meeting.