City Council supports construction of bridge
by Emily Adams
SYLACAUGA – The City Council voted 5-0 to approve a resolution supporting construction of a bridge across the Coosa River at its meeting Wednesday morning.

The bridge would be located along Talladega County Road 26 and Shelby County Road 28 in the area that served as the McGowan-Perkins Ferry from the 1850s to the 1970s.

The council resolved that there is a public need for the bridge and both Talladega and Shelby counties would benefit from its construction. The state Legislature approved funding for the project in 2000 and the county has funds earmarked; however, the resolution stated additional funds are needed to cover road improvements and construction costs on both sides of the river.

The County Commission recently approved a similar resolution, noting that the necessary funding would likely come from the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation Program or the Rural Alabama Match Project, which offer a combined $1 billion in bond funds to counties for infrastructure projects.

At a work session preceding the council meeting, Mayor Doug Murphree said the Commission is working to get the project, which has been discussed between the two counties for at least 20 years, back on the priority list.

“At first, they had problems with Shelby County, and then it got put on the backburner, and everybody sort of forgot about it,” Murphree said, adding that some property owners in Shelby County still oppose the bridge.

Equally as important, however, is encouraging the completion of the four-lane on Alabama 21 from Winterboro to Sylacauga, Murphree said. The project is not even on the State Department of Transportation’s 10-year plan, he said, even though the property has been purchased.

“We ought to immediately start to encourage people to get this four-lane finished,” Murphree said. “That is vital to us. If we had that four-lane, we could attract a lot more business and industry. It’s just as important as the bridge. We need both of them.”

Murphree said he plans to speak with Sen. Jerry Fielding and Rep. Ron Johnson about completing the four-lane in a quicker time frame.

Council President Rocky Lucas also announced at the meeting that applications for City Board appointments are due this Friday by 5 p.m. at City Hall. There are currently three openings on the Board of Adjustments and Appeals, two openings on the Community Development Board, two openings on the Historical Commission, one seat on the Parks and Recreation Board and one on the Library Board. For more information, call 256-401-2424.

Also at the meeting, the council:

• Authorized participation in the 2013 Severe Weather Preparedness tax holiday Feb. 22-24. A complete list of tax-exempt items is available online at

• Renewed a grant agreement for existing senior citizen and nutrition programs between the city and East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission, effective October 2012 through Sept. 30, 2013. Total program cost is $115,178. Grant funding is $109, 890 with a local required match of $3,143 and $2,145 for locally provided meals.

• Authorized a $20 refund for overpayment of municipal court fees to Elizabeth Grace Stallings.

• Approved expenses for Shop Superintendent Ed Ford and one transportation program employee to attend the annual area transit vehicle training workshop in Robertsdale, Jan. 17-18. Only expense is overnight lodging and meals.

• Authorized payment of accounts payable invoices totaling $59,777.10 for December.

The next regular council meeting is Jan. 22 at 6 p.m.

Contact Emily Adams at

© 2013