By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
Cullman officials approved some additional engineering work on the upcoming Larkwood Bridge replacement, intended to retire the deficient, 60-year-old structure that is currently in use.
The city council approved a $21,100 contract with CDG Engineers & Associates, Inc. for professional engineering services related to the construction of the Larkwood Bridge replacement.
Though work isn’t expected to ramp up until 2014, Mayor Max Townson said the engineering work was needed to redesign the bridge because its current location is often flooded during heavy rainfall.
Engineers are also trying to determine exactly how the new bridge will fit with an ongoing initiative to replace a major sewer pipe on the route, as the two designs will have to work in conjunction with one another.
“We really have to make sure the bridge and sewer lines don’t mess each other up,” Townson said. “We think eventually we might tear down the old bridge, because if you leave it up, you run the risk of it washing out and getting pushed down where it could do damage to the sewer pipe.”
The $1.39 million project will largely be funded by an 80/20 matching grant via the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (A-TRIP). The city will be required to pay approximately $300,000 in local matching funds.
Sometimes called the “Waterfall Bridge,” the Convent Road bridge was rated a 12.5 out of 100 on the state’s bridge safety scale. A bridge can be closed until repairs are made at a 10 rating, while anything below a 5 rating is condemned immediately. Recent inspections found the bridge structure shows major structural deficiencies, including large cracks in the foundation.
In addition to the Larkwood Bridge, city officials are also preparing to replace the small, narrow bridge on Eva Road. The city will have to pay approximately $400,000 in local matching funds for the $1.6 million project, which is also being funded by ATRIP.
The Eva Road bridge was rated at 47 on the bridge safety scale, though officials say some small cracks in the foundation and the awkward layout of the narrow bridge makes it a priority, as fire trucks cannot currently travel across the bridge.
Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.