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All bridges lead to somewhere

No fewer than 10 bridge replacement projects were updated at a Heart of Alabama Rural Planning Organization meeting on March 28 at Jemison Municipal Complex.

The bridges to be replaced range from ones on little-traveled roads to those on main thoroughfares including Highway 145 and Highway 155.

But no matter how many vehicles travel over a certain bridge, if your vehicle is one of those that does on a regular basis, then that bridge is important to you.

We are glad to know that these bridges are on the radar of local and state officials. A bridge deteriorating to the point of becoming impassable would become an inconvenience at best. At worst, residents on the other side of the bridge could find themselves without access to emergency health care or school transportation.

The two most-traveled bridges on the list are on state routes: one over a railroad on Highway 155 and one over Waxahatchee Creek on Highway 145.

The Highway 145 bridge is estimated to cost about $2.3 million, and the Highway 155 project is estimated to cost $2.8 million.

These projects are listed under the years 2016 and 2017.

Bridges on county roads scheduled to be replaced include County Road 2 over Mahan Creek, County Road 214 over Spur of Mulberry Creek, County Road 232 over Benson Creek, County Road 255 (Johnny McKinney Road) over River Branch, County Road 32 over Walnut Creek, County Road 352 over Little Mulberry Creek, County Road 478 (Dixie Camp Road) over Cargile Creek and County Road 535 over Mountain Creek.

The projects listed above are part of the Rural Assistance Match Program.

“These eight bridges are part of that federally-funded program,” Chilton County Engineer Tony Wearren said. “It is a very unusual circumstance, and probably at no other time would we have access to funds to replace eight bridges.”

The cost of the eight RAMP bridge replacements will range from $168,000 to $530,000 with expenses paid for by federal and state funds.

“We have 100 bridges in the county, and we are getting to the point where bridges are not the limiting factor on any road,” Wearren said. “That becomes a win-win [situation] for everybody in a county like ours with so many rivers and streams.”