More than $1.3 million, that's how much it's going to cost taxpayers to replace three very old bridges in Autauga County.
Judy Pope lives within a mile of the bridge on County Road 85 just beyond the turnoff to County Road 104. In recent years Pope has never felt safe crossing it.
The surface is concrete but underneath it's rotten wood. "It holds water really bad," Pope explains, although she says she's not sure why. "When it rains a lot, it doesn't seem to drain."
The county's engineer, David Bufkin, says repairs are on the on way. "Timber up underneath them had just gotten so deteriorated now that it just not hold the load that it needs to hold," Bufkin admits.
The bridge is one of three with wooden legs that will be replaced beginning next summer.
Bufkin says there is a 4th wooden-supported bridge near Autaugaville on Riverview Road that will not be replaced right away with the help of federal funds because that bridge does not meet federal requirements.
The funds to pay for the repairs total more than a million dollars, but more than 80 percent of that will come from the federal government. The rest will come from the county.
The bridge is wide enough to handle all types of traffic, but it's simply not strong enough.
Bufkin says certain vehicles shouldn't try to cross it, including logging trucks and other commercial vehicles.
In the last 20 years the county has replaced 30 wooden-support bridges, many of them built in the 1960s. Bufkin says just about all bridges during that time in Alabama were built with wooden supports because Alabama is a timber-rich state and the material was cheaper.
Pope looks forward to crossing a safer bridge when she goes to work everyday. For many like her in these parts, the sooner the better.
EDITOR'S NOTE: We have corrected our headline to indicate cost of $1.3 million and not $3 million.
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