DALE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - After years of problems and months of construction, the bridge on County Road 560 in Dale County is open for traffic.
“Thankful, very thankful,” said Scotty Brandon with a smile.
Brandon has lived on County Road 560 for 27 years. He’s excited to get back to doing regular things homeowners do. Things he couldn’t do for years, because of the crumbling bridge nearby.
“Now the trash trucks can come down and we don’t have to take our garbage cans way up the road, because they [garbage trucks] couldn’t cross the bridge,” said Brandon.
Back in 2009, the area started having problems with bridge flooding. Work done by landowners above the bridge caused sediment to travel down the water and block the area under the bridge.
“You could walk under the bridge and then the sand started coming down and filling up and one flood after another - and finally it started washing up over the bridge,” said Brandon.
Not just washing over the bridge, but washing away parts of the bridge - trapping the 40-50 people who live in the area in their homes during heavy rainstorms.
Retired now, but Brandon says he remembers having to call off of work because he was stuck.
“I would take a video of the water going over the bridge just to show I wasn’t calling in to goof off,” said Brandon.
With the help of FEMA funds and state funds, the county built a new bridge for residents. Tuesday, Dale County Engineer Derek Brewer walked commissioners through the newly completed changes.
“It’s 104 feet long and nine feet higher than the original, so we should haven’t this problem ever again,” said Brewer.
“We came across with a real good project. We have a good bridge there and it’s going to be sustainable for many many years,” said Dale County Commissioner Charles Gary.
County officials say there are still minor things needed to be done related to the bridge, like some drainage and paving the road leading to the bridge.
The bridge cost roughly $500,000. FEMA paid 75 percent of the cost. The state and county paid roughly 12.5 percent, according to Brewer.