ATHENS – Replacement of the Alabama 20 old bridge is due to begin in late March or early April, according to the Limestone County engineer.

"The goal is to have traffic in late October," said Marc Massey, Limestone County engineer, after a Limestone County Commission working session on Wednesday.

Once electrical, cable and water supplies are relocated, contractor Eutaw Construction will demolish the old bridge, District 3 commissioner Jason Black said.

Black and Massey met with representatives of Eutaw Construction, the Department of Transportation of Alabama, Athens Utilities, WOW Cable, and Limestone County Water and Wastewater Authority this week in a preparatory meeting for the project.

The cost of construction, construction and inspection of the bridge project is estimated at approximately $ 2.66 million.

Federal Emergency Relief funds will pay 80 per cent of the costs, while the local 20 per cent match from Limestone County comes through an exchange of Federal Aid funds, the city of Huntsville and state state road and bridge funds.

According to Black, the city of Huntsville, County and State have all paid their shares.

"Were all paid and ready for construction," Massey said.

The former bridge west of the Greenbrier Parkway was damaged by flooding in 2015 on Christmas Day. The work was partially delayed due to the potential impact of the construction on nearby wetlands and on several species of state-protected snails in the stream.

The old bridge was 90 feet long and had several lobes in the creek, and its replacement will be 180 feet long, with two 40-foot fields and a 100-foot patch of field that will cross the creek.

During the working session, District 1 Commissioner Daryl Sammet made a resolution to support the increase in government gasoline and diesel taxes to finance the repair and renovation of district roads and bridges.

The resolution will be considered at the regular meeting of the Commission on Monday. The committees of Morgan and Lawrence made similar decisions last week.

Sammet said that although there are still issues that are being challenged, the measure is to show the legislators of the state "We are behind them" to a gas tax hike.

"It's not just roads, but also bridges," says Sammet.

There are three bridges in District 1 that will soon need attention, Massey said.

"I know we need the revenue" for roads, said District 4 Commissioner Ben Harrison, but "it may be premature to support a gas tax hike if we have no current account."

Black said he would support the resolution.

"We need financing for no reason other than security," he said.

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