Federal stimulus money may replace one bridge

Published 10:47 pm Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Chilton County Commission hopes to secure $330,000 in federal stimulus money to fund a bridge replacement project on Chilton County Road 359.

Proposed plans are currently under review by the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), through which the grant would be allocated.

County Engineer Tony Wearren said ALDOT is holding the money pending the start of the project.

“What we have to do is initialize a project based on state guidelines,” Wearren said.

The stimulus money cannot be used to pave a dirt road or purchase new equipment or material, Wearren explained. It could be used to resurface a major road — or, more specifically, a road classified as a “major collector” — but the $330,000 would only resurface about one mile, he said.

Based on the engineer’s recommendation, the commission voted several months ago to apply stimulus money toward the bridge.

“We felt like [the bridge] was the best use of funds under the guidelines given to us as to how we could spend it,” Wearren said.

There are currently 61 structurally deficient bridges in Chilton County, and the bridge on 359 is ranked No. 1 on a state deficiency report. Wearren hopes to request bids this spring and possibly begin construction in April or May.

“There’s nothing official that has come through yet,” Commissioner Allen Caton said. “We were hoping to get more money because we wanted to do some other roads.”

Wearren doesn’t expect any additional stimulus money to come through in the foreseeable future.