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A bridge project in the Shoals was slowed down by the discovery of Indian artifacts and an endangered species, is moving along once again.
The bridge over Cypress Creek on County Road 16 in Lauderdale County has been shut down for close to a year. The bridge built in the 30's was closed because it wasn't safe according to the Lauderdale County Road Engineer.
"It's a big inconvenience for all of us that live in this neighborhood," said Charles Massengale, who lives on County Road 16. He said having the bridge closed has added a lot of time on his driving trips.
"It's at least 25 to 30 minutes each way we go because of the traffic," said Massengale.
In 2016, officials had plans of building a new bridge farther North on County Road 16 but those plans were dashed after Indian artifacts were found. Officials told WAAY 31 the Slackwater darter, an endangered species, uses the flood plains for a breeding ground around the creek, which added another hurdle to the project. Eric Hill, the Lauderdale County Road Engineer, said they have been told by the State Historical Preservation office they can build the new bridge about 200 feet North of the old one.
"We haven't known for sure if we were going to get a new bridge or not," said Ricky Patrick, who also lives on County Road 16.
The money to pay for the bridge will come from the Federal Highway Administration. Officials are in the process of submitting paper work to them. Patrick says they need the bridge not just for convenience but for safety.
"About a month ago we had a tree down that blocked us on the other end. So we were blocked in that night with no electricity no way for a fire truck or ambulance to get in. It's just a blessing it's coming through like this," said Patrick.
Hill said the new bridge could cost about $2 million. If everything goes according to plan, construction on the new bridge could start at the end of 2019.
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