According to City Manager Brian Muenger, the City Council had previously ordered the bridge closed permanently at the meeting before their most recent one Monday night.
“Our records indicate that the railroad has repaired this bridge before,” Muenger said. “It was a potential danger, so Norfolk Southern announced Monday that they would remove it. North-Side Hal Henderson Elementary School was the biggest thing on the far side of the bridge, and it’s closed. There are ground level crossings on either side for anything else.”
Norfolk-Southern has fewer trains running through Talladega than other railroads, with no switching stations and fewer blockages.
As far as anyone with the city can ascertain, the bridge was built in 1940, but since then it has become outdated, according to city and state reports.
“It just didn’t make any financial sense to leave it up,” Muenger said.
Muenger said he contacted the railroad’s government liaison in Atlanta, while Public Works Director Karen Phillips contacted the local rail-master. “They were very responsive, both on this project and in helping to repair the culvert on Tinney Street that was damaged by flooding,” he said.
As of 2010, the bridge’s sufficiency was rated at 14.2 out of 100, Muenger said. “We had it barricaded off for vehicle traffic before, but we were concerned that it wasn’t even safe for pedestrians,” he said.
Norfolk-Southern had conducted repairs on the bridge as recently as 2008, when it was listed with a maximum capacity of six tons. Muenger said the condition and capacity had not improved since then.
Contact Chris Norwood at email@example.com