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Lauderdale may replace bridges
By Tom Smith -

FLORENCE — Lauderdale County Engineer Ken Allamel has been given authority to put together a request to have up to 10 more outdated bridges replaced through the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program.

The program, which is commonly known as ATRIP, has approved two rounds of bridge and road projects statewide, with northwest Alabama heavily involved in the process.

This will be the final opportunity for governments to apply for program funding.

Allamel said the county is responsible for paying for 20 percent of the projects’ cost, with the remaining money coming from the program.

“We’ve got to keep going after all the money we can. A 20 percent match is a pretty good investment for the county,” Commissioner Larry Irons said.

He and the other county commissioners gave Allamel authority to proceed with the request.

“We need to move on this and be in a position to get whatever we can,” Commissioner D.C. Thornton said at a recent work session.

Allamel said his department is working to finalize a list of bridge projects they will submit.

“We’re looking at 8-10 bridge replacement projects that we would like to have funded,” he said. Those bridges are in areas throughout the county.

“Every one we are looking at have low weight limit restrictions that prevent school buses and emergency vehicles to cross,” he said.

School buses and emergency vehicles are prohibited from crossing bridges with weight limits of 13 tons and less.

Allamel said some of the bridges on the project list will be replaced with new bridges, while others will be replaced with culverts.

“If we’re going to keep trying to replace all of the substandard bridges, we have got to keep going after all the money we can,” Irons said.

Commission Chairman Dewey Mitchell said no one knows if additional opportunities will be available to apply for assistance on such projects.

“All we can do is apply and see what happens,” Mitchell said,

Allamel said the applications must be submitted to state transportation officials by May 31.

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