Lack of funding impacting Limestone County bridges

Limestone County Engineers told WAAY 31 they are playing a game of catch up with bridge repairs, because of a lack of funding.

Posted: Nov 22, 2017 5:27 PM
Updated: Nov 22, 2017 6:22 PM

According to Limestone County Engineers, over thirty percent of the bridges in the county need to be inspected more frequently than the federal standard.

That is because problems in those bridges have started to pop up and they need to make sure drivers can still use them.

There are 161 bridges in Limestone County.

The standard inspection is every two years.

49 of those bridges have to be inspected once every year instead to make sure new problems aren't happening.

3 bridges in the county have to be inspected every 3 months.

WAAY 31 spoke to a man who drives across one of those three bridges multiple times a day.

He said it's something he and his family have just gotten used to.

"It is scary to drive across with a lot of weight. We haven't had posted weight limits for a long time, but as of recently there has been more attention to that," said Heath Dorning.

An Engineer for Limestone County told WAAY 31 they are putting band aid fixes on bridges that desperately need them, like the one Dorning drives over, but they are forced to simply keep an eye on all the others.

"We have to try and find the problems before they become a big enough problem thats a safety hazard and the whole time nature is against us," said Limestone County Engineer Marc Massey.

Part of the Limestone County roads budget of rouhghly $4.5 million a year is dedicated to fixing potholes and other bad roads.

Massey said that doesn't leave a lot of money left over to replace bridges, which can be expensive.

"We have some bridges that $300,000-$400,000 would replace the structure. We have some structures that would be closer to 2-3 million," said Massey.

Massey said a fix, that has been talked about for several years in the Alabama State Legislature, is a gasoline tax increase.

That would bring more money to all counties in the state to use to fix infrastructure.

That tax increase has not passed.

Resident Heath Dorning said it might be time for the people of Alabama to get on board with one.

"I'm one of those people that don't really get caught up into a lot of anger with tax issues. I enjoy an amazing country that has great resources, great infrastructure, and I'm willing to pay for those things," said Dorning.

This problem here is not unique to Limestone County. 

According to Engineers with the Madison County Commission, the county is also experiencing problems in keeping up with the crumbling bridge infrastructure.

There are 248 bridges in the county.

Of those, 160 have to be inspected more frequently than the standard 2 year inspection, and 16 bridges in the county have been put on school bus restriction.

Thats when buses have to go around and find a different way to go.

Engineers with Madison County told WAAY 31 they are also doing patch work fixes on the bridges that need it. 

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