DALE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - Dale County moves forward on next steps to replace a flood prone bridge on County Road 560 in Midland City.
During Tuesday's commission meeting, the board voted to move forward on a project to bore a hole under the bridge to determine the best material needed for the project. The new bridge will be 104 feet long and 9 feet higher than the current low lying bridge. The majority of the roughly $500,000 project will be paid for by over $400,000 in FEMA money. The rest of the project will be covered by the county.
County Engineer Derek Brewer says before they can get that FEMA money, the county has to jump through a few more hoops.
"We have to get plans done and the plans include environmental compliance through EPA," Brewer said. "We also have historical preservation we have to deal with and archaeological."
He says plans are about 90 percent done. Brewer says the area floods at least once a year. Just two months into 2018, and the area has already had its first flood of the year. One lane of the bridge remains closed after Sunday's heavy rain storm. The storm brought 7 to 8 inches of rain. Water from the creek under the bridge flooded the top. Crews worked Monday to patch holes on the surface of the bridge that had been washed away.
The bridge is the primary road that gives about 45 to 50 people living north of the area access to the main road. Dale County District 3 Commissioner Charles Gary, who serves the area where the bridge is located, says this hasn't always been an issue. He says changes in landscape above the bridge started the flooding issues about five years ago.
"We've had a problem with upper grades where lose soil is coming down for the lack of vegetation that has been removed," Gary said. "That's the main reason. We have sediment collecting at that point and that's why the bridge keeps failing."
The county engineer says the goal is to begin work on the area in the next six months and complete the project by the end of the year.