$9.9M in bridge work coming to county

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 1, 2013

Crenshaw County is in for some major bridge repair work thanks to $9.9 million in funds secured by the county.

Last year, the county was awarded grant money for bridge renovations through the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP).

The projects funded in this round of ATRIP funding are expected to be completed or under construction by the fall of 2014, County Engineer Benjie Sanders said.

Projects funded through this include bridge replacement on  Petrey Highway at Blue Creek, Petrey Highway at Cedar Creek, Honoraville Road at Little Patsaliga Creek, Honoraville Road at Sweetwater Creek and Petrey Highway at Bee Branch.

The nearly $5 million from the ATRIP program requires a nearly $1 million match from the county.

Crenshaw County received an additional $5 million through the Rural Assistance Match Program (RAMP), which allows counties and cities to receive state funds to meet matching requirement for federal ATRIP funds.

That means instead of the county paying an additional $1 million, the RAMP program paid the matching requirement for the funding.

Sanders said counties such as Crenshaw that elected to receive RAMP funds became ineligible for ATRIP Phase II and all future ATRIP phases where match is required from the local sponsor.

Projects included in the program include Swanner Bridge Road at Little Patsaliga Creek, Swanner Bridge Road at Horse Creek, Sexton Bridge Road at Little Patsaliga Creek, County Lake Road at Dry Creek Tributary, Teague Road at Cane Creek, Little Horse Creek Road at Horse Creek, Old Dozier Road at Double Branch, Old Dozier Road at Three Mile Creek, West Robinson Road at Gin Creek, Aiken Road at Little Piney Woods Creek, Lowman Loop Road at Sina Creek, Burnout Road at Morgan Branch, Honey Jones Creek Road at Honey Jones Mill Creek.

“We’ve been needing something for years to address the deficient bridges in this county,” Sanders said. “This is the largest in my career. I’ve been her for 13 years, and the biggest problem we’ve had is our bridges.”

Sanders said that the county has been awarded close to 20 years worth of money and will have only $1 million in the massive overhaul project.

Once the projects are completed, Sanders said it will take care of all the bridges that are needed for school bus travel.

In 2011, the county launched “Project Yellow Bridge,” a campaign to make residents more aware of weight-restricted bridges.

Luverne Journal records show that some 34 bridges in the county are weigh restricted, and 25 of those are in such bad shape that an empty school busy can’t legally or safely cross it.

Sanders said that they are currently working on the two bridges on the Honoraville Road, and they plan to start on the Petrey bridges in January 2014.

“On the other projects, we will have to acquire the rights-of-way and deal with some environmental issues,” he said.