Thorsby bridge work underway

Published 1:37 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Construction on a bridge along West Medical Center Drive in Thorsby could be finished as soon as Jan. 20, Mayor Dearl Hilyer said.

The road, which connects to U.S. 31 in the northern part of Thorsby, has been closed since early December.

A culvert is being added after the amount of weight the bridge is able to safely support was lowered to three tons. The drop meant that school buses as well as fire and garbage trucks could no longer pass over it.

Crews work to install a culvert along West Medical Center Drive in Thorsby.

The change forced the town to reroute its garbage trucks through Jemison. The school system also started requiring parents to meet buses on the other side of the bridge, Hilyer said.

A state grant will pay for the bridge replacement. Construction crews started working Dec. 5 and could be finished as soon as Jan. 20, Hilyer said.

“We want to know when it reopens,” Hilyer said. “(Right now), there just isn’t a short, easy way to get around it.”

Though contractors have up to eight more weeks to finish the job, Hilyer doesn’t think it will take that long, especially if the weather stays dry.

After this week, the only work that will remain will be paving and adding guardrails, Hilyer said.

“But before we can do the paving, we have to let all the dirt and all settle,” he said.

A $250,000 Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs grant is funding the project. The town of Thorsby provided a $4,640 match.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delayed construction, in part, because of a mandated environmental impact study.