ALDOT to look at Brown’s Bridge

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 12/19/17

The Walker County Commission heard Monday that the Alabama Department of Transportation will look at the closed Brown’s Bridge as part of efforts to make repairs for reopening it until a permanent bridge replacement can be performed.

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ALDOT to look at Brown’s Bridge

Posted

The Walker County Commission heard Monday that the Alabama Department of Transportation will look at the closed Brown’s Bridge as part of efforts to make repairs for reopening it until a permanent bridge replacement can be performed.

Gene Cameron, a board member on the Providence Water Authority, said during the public comments section his community is concerned because Brown’s Bridge is closed, with dirt barriers on each end of it.

“It is an inconvenience for most people,” Cameron said, noting the water authority is slowed down on meter reading due to the closing.

“We have a water line that crosses that bridge,” he said. “Our main trunk line comes down from McCollum down to Brown’s Bridge and crosses, and from there it serves the lower community of Providence and east Oakman.” 

He asked about future plans for the bridge, which is between Parrish and Oakman over Lost Creek on Brown’s Bridge Road. It was closed on Nov. 15 during a routine county inspection of the bridge, County Engineer Mike Short said at a Nov. 29 commission meeting.

Some deck pins were exposed due to pavement wearing off, leaving areas of the deck rusted, he said. Holes have been left on the bridge that one can look down through the decking to see the creek.

Short said the bridge, which is approximately 200-feet long and is posted with a 10-ton limit, possibly could be made into a one-lane structure to slow traffic down. That might could allow the bridge to function until a new bridge is completed. A new bridge would be constructed 300 feet upstream from the existing bridge, using the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP) program.

The big concern that could impede that progress is obtaining 20 percent matching funds for ATRIP, he said last month. “This is probably a $1.5 million to $2 million bridge, so between $300,000 to $400,000 of matching money” is needed by the county,” he said.

At the Dec. 18 meeting, Short said in reply to Cameron that the county has to work with ALDOT in terms of the timetable of the work. He noted he obtained the name of a bridge maintenance official within this region of ALDOT.

The official is scheduled to come soon “to see if our ideas of putting metal on top of some areas that are degradated will work,” Short said.

If weight is added to the bridge, the 10-ton limit may have to be lowered, he warned.

“It is our intention to replace the Brown’s Bridge, but that is based on the reviews and things in Montgomery with the ATRIP project,” he said. “I would suspect we would be 12 to 18 months away from either completion or getting that underway. It was our intention to leave that bridge in place for the water line. If we don’t do that, we would try to make accommodations where a new water line could be installed on the new bridge.”

Evaluation and cooperation from ALDOT on doing short-term work could result in the bridge being reopened in a matter of weeks, depending on the viewpoints of the inspecting engineer, Short said, albeit with a lowered weight limit. Small vehicle traffic would still be able to use it.

Ray Fields, a resident at 1020 Blackwood Road, told the commission Monday he was glad to hear about the plans for the bridge, as he had planned to address the situation at the meeting. He noted it was a “vital passage” that connects a number of families to their churches. He also said it involves a main water line that serves area families.

He also addressed concerns of paving needs on the Brown’s Bridge Road, due to red rock placed on the road. “This red rock, in my estimation, is more abrasive than any other rock and it will ruin windshields” and requires frequent cleaning on vehicles.

He also requested paving on the Blackwood Road.