Aging Wolf Creek Bridge to be replaced
by DAVID ATCHISON
U.S. 78 is expected to be closed while the Alabama Department of Transportation tears down and replaces the Wolf Creek Bridge
PELL CITY — It’s going to be longer, wider and better, but U.S. 78 will be closed for months while workers tear down and replace the aging Wolf Creek Bridge.

“It’s on the schedule for early next year,” said Gary Smith, District 6 manager of the Alabama Department of Transportation First Division.

Smith estimates the Wolf Creek Bridge was built in the 1940s.

“It could have been built before that,” he said.

ALDOT plans to tear down the old bridge and replace it with a new structure that is wider and longer, but to do that it will be forced to close U.S. 78 and traffic will be detoured to Wolf Creek Road North, South or to U.S. 231.

Smith said U.S. 78, which is a major thoroughfare for Pell City commuters traveling to Birmingham and Victory Christian School, is expected to close for 6-8 months while workers build a new bridge.

The Wolf Creek Bridge is south of Victory Christian School and north of downtown Pell City on U.S. 78.

ALDOT has not advertised for bids for the project but is expected to do so early next year.

Smith said officials estimate that commuters, who normally travel across the bridge, will have to detour 7 miles to reach their destination.

At the request of ALDOT, the council is considering the approval of a resolution so the project can move forward as scheduled.

“The city, by and through its City Council, hereby grants to the Alabama Department of Transportation the full use of and access to the dedicated widths of any existing streets for the construction of said project and hereby agrees to permit and allow the Alabama Department of Transportation to close and barricade the said project and intersecting streets for as long as necessary while the said project is being graded, drained, paved and otherwise improved …,” according to a resolution the council will consider for passage. “The city hereby further agrees to adopt or pass such legally effective ordinances and/or laws as will permanently barricade and/or relocate certain intersecting streets as required by the state and to permanently deny or limit access at certain locations as required by the state along said improvements, all of which are more specifically stated …”

Smith said once the construction of the bridge is completed, commuters will have more “breathing room” when crossing Wolf Creek on U.S. 78 in the Eden community.

“It (the new bridge) is 16 wider than the existing bridge,” Smith said.

He said the new bridge will go exactly where the old bridge is now.

At a Thursday council work session, city officials expressed concern about completely closing U.S. 78 in Pell City. Members of the council requested that the city manager arrange to have an ALDOT official address the council about the project at a future work session, before the council moves forward with passing a formal resolution for the temporary closure of U.S. 78.

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com.

© 2012