Additional funds requested for bridge
by CHRIS NORWOOD
TALLADEGA COUNTY — The County Commission voted 4-0 Friday to request additional funds to build a bridge across the Coosa River from south Talladega County into Shelby County. Commissioner Jimmy Roberson was absent.

The bridge would be located in the area that was served by the McGowan-Perkins Ferry from the 1850s to the 1970s. The state Legislature approved funding for the bridge in 2000. Talladega County still has funds earmarked for the project, but Shelby County has not been in favor of it.

“The Talladega County Commission hereby requests the support of the governor of the state of Alabama, the state Department of Transportation, the Shelby County Commission, and all citizens that desire economic growth and development within these counties, for the construction and development of the bridge across the Coosa River and the infrastructure needed within each county to support the traffic traveling over the bridge, and for any additional support or funding of this project that will see this project to a successful conclusion,” the resolution stated.

The needed funding would likely come either from the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation Program or from the Rural Alabama Match Project. According to county administrator Wayne Hall, the two programs together offer more than $1 billion in bond funds to counties for infrastructure projects.

ATRIP projects require a 20 percent local match, but RAMP projects do not. According to county engineer Tim Markert, Talladega County has already been awarded one ATRIP grant for the Eureka Bridge, and has applied for three more.

RAMP projects require a letter to the state no later than Jan. 8. ATRIP projects do not require any such letter, Markert told the commission.

The commission will hold another called meeting Jan. 4 at noon to discuss further highway funding.

Commissioner Greg Atkinson said “industries in the south end of the county need better access to I-65, and this bridge would also alleviate some of the traffic on U.S. 285.

Also Friday, the commission:

• Hired two corrections officers, accepted the resignation of a public service worker in the road department and an extended leave of absence for a customer service representative in the Sheriff’s Department.

• Announced that commission offices will be closed Dec. 24 and 25, and on Jan. 1.

• Announced the next regular commission meeting will be Jan. 14 at 6 p.m.

Contact Chris Norwood at cnorwood@dailyhome.com.

© 2012