Victor South, a mine committee member, said the main access road to the mine is in such poor condition that workers are damaging their cars going to and from work.
“It gets very slick when it rains, and we have people leave the roadway all the time,” South said. “We are constantly having to pull cars out of the ditch. We’ve been lucky that no one has gotten hurt when they’ve gone into the ditch.”
South said the roadway has been responsible for more than 200 flattened or damaged tires.
Randy Wideman, also a mine committee member, said the road can become impassible at times.
“My main concern is that the road can get to the point where an ambulance can’t get in there for at least 12 hours,” he said. “In severe weather, a helicopter can’t fly in either, so it’s scary to think what could happen if someone was critically injured during one of those times.”
Shoal Creek Mine is located in Adger, and its operation stretches across Walker, Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties. South said the Tuscaloosa County Commission had already been notified about the access road problems. He said only a small portion of the access road is located in Walker County.
“It’s about a mile and a half from the gate to Tuscaloosa County,” he said. “We’ve also got some problems on Tiger Mine Road in Walker County, but it is not near as severe.”
After hearing from the group, commissioners voted to give David Edgil, the county’s engineer, permission to get a cost analysis on the access road and to move forward with repairing the county’s portion of the road.
Chairman Bruce Hamrick said he would be in contact with the Tuscaloosa County Commission to see if the two groups could coordinate their work on the road.
“I have not heard from them on this, but I do think it would be good if we could plan out the work together,” Hamrick said.
In other action, the commission:
•Approved an Alabama Department of Transportation resolution for a resurfacing project on Highway 269. Edgil said the project would be at no cost to the county.
•Approved a cable franchise agreement with Charter Communications.
•Approved an Alabama Department of Youth Services grant agreement.