New Home Road opened on Tuesday, Aug. 6, after being closed for nearly a year.
The project began on July 10, 2018, although it had been in the works prior to that. ALDOT approved the opening of the bridge after an inspection. Marshall County Assistant County Engineer Michael Knop said that his first order of business was to contact the Marshall County Board of Education to let them know that the road would be open for buses the next morning.
The reason the bridge was closed was because it was a candidate for replacement with ATRIP funds. In 2012, the Marshall County Commission had to make a list of possible candidate and New Home Road was one of the areas that was chosen. It was based on the traffic count, the location, the school system and the agricultural route.
The traffic count for the road was 150 a day. It could be up by a few, but that is a good estimate, Knop said.
The cost of the bridge was estimated to be $1,011,914, but Knop believes that the cost will end up below the estimation.
The bridge is a 160 foot pretensioned-prestressed concrete girder bridge that replaces a 60 foot steel girder bridge. The posting for the bridge prior was 8 tons and the new bridge is able to hold semis and school buses.
“The reason this bridge was picked in 2012 was because of the number of chicken farmers across the bridge and we knew the difficulty with trucks having to go around everything to get to them,” he said.
With the posting being at 60 foot, a bus could not cross as well. The school system was the number one reason for the replacement and the second was the local farmers, he said.
This is the last Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP) project in Marshall County. It used the last of that money. Most of the project was funded by the government, but Distinct 3 had to provide some money for it to be constructed.
The funds for the bridge are divided three ways. District 3 had to provide $202,382, with $500,000 from ATRIP and $309,531.52 from County Federal Aid Funds.
District 3 Commissioner David Kelley said that it is a million dollar bridge.
Knop and Kelley said that it will be a welcome opening for the citizens of the area. Knop laughed and said that some already have been enjoying the new bridge. Kelley said that he knew that there were several that used it to get to church for revival last week.
They are still working on Mt. Sinai Road and should be finishing it up in around three weeks. They are starting a project on Baker Road in Asbury as well. This should begin in October.