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Bridge refurbishment project underway

The Amendment I project, funded by the State of Alabama, provided $250,000 to Butler County this year to make most of the bridges passable by school buses.

The money will be used to improve bridge conditions and raise the weight limit to 14 tons, the tonnage which is required for a school bus to safely pass. Gov. Don Siegelman acquired the money for the State of Alabama to improve bridge conditions primarily for this reason.

Butler County Engineer Dennis McCall said Butler County is conducting the bridge improvement effort in three stages.

The first stage involves the improvement of four bridges, two of which are located on County Road 16, east of Georgiana. Another bridge to be improved in the first stage is located over Halls Creek on County Road 65. The fourth bridge is located on County Road 43 near Mashville.

Three of the four bridges are completed and open, said McCall, and the bridge on County Road 43 should be finished and open in four to six weeks. The first stage of the project cost approximately $1,600,000 and was contracted to the G. W. Norrell Contracting Company of Georgiana.

The second stage of the project involves three bridges. Two of which are loceted on County Road 6 and one on Patrick Road,

west of McKenzie. The third bridge is located on County Road 48 in the Friendship Community.

Woodland Specialists of Chapman have contracted for the second stage with a bid of $474,000, says McCall. He said the second stage will begin in one week to ten days and will be complete in approximately 6-9 months.

The third stage of the project involves two bridges: one on County Road 65 and one over Pigeon Creek on County Road 47. This stage will cost approximately $400,000.

McCall said that by the end of January every bridge except one in Butler County will meet the tonnage requirement for a school bus to safely pass. He said that 14 years ago, 14 of the bridges in Butler County did not meet the tonnage requirement.

"We have a fairly aggressive bridge program in Butler County," the engineer said. "It is hard to gauge the impact this project will have on our county. Bridges and roads are vital to industry."