Jemison council discusses bridge inspection

Published 7:55 pm Monday, November 7, 2011

Two representatives from Alabama Department of Transportation presented the Jemison City Council Monday with information about the required inspection of a bridge located in the city.

John Douglas, assistant division engineer, and Eric Christie, assistant state maintenance engineer for bridges, told the council that all bridges in Alabama must be inspected at least every two years in compliance with state and federal regulations.

The bridge in question is located on Highway 42 at Yellowleaf Creek in Jemison.

Mayor Eddie Reed said the bridge, which is comprised of three galvanized pipes, connects Highway 31 to Interstate 65 and is heavily used by residents and businesses.

The bridge’s weight limit at present is “legal loads,” which Christie said are about 80,000 pounds.

Reed said the city is considering lowering the bridge’s weight limit, and following the inspection, an engineer would determine the maximum weight limit the city could enforce.

“The city of Jemison did not build it; we inherited it,” Reed said. “We’ve begun to see some deterioration. It’s not going to get any better.”

Christie said Jemison must find and fund an inspector to determine the bridge’s condition, but ALDOT will provide one of its engineers to determine a safe load-carrying capacity if the city asks for one.

“We offer it as a service,” Christie said. “If damage is found (and) something needed to be done to it, it would fall on the city.”

Reed said the city may have to close the road if potential repairs are too costly.

“The city can’t afford to rebuild that bridge,” Reed said. “It’s obvious we’re going to have to reach out beyond our resources if repairs (are needed).”

In other new business, the council:

•Approved the adjustment of water bills for Michell Green, Shelby Posey and Clyde Northcutt.

•Moved to add a street light to an existing pole on Lockhart Drive.