Limestone County Commission OKs bridge agreement
May 08--The future of a long-closed bridge in southern Limestone County seems a little less murky after a decision to allow a third party to negotiate right of way acquisitions.
The Limestone County Commission on Monday voted unanimously to pay Bradley Weisner of Guntersville-based Wisener LLC $9,050 to negotiate the right of way purchases. District 3 Commissioner Jason Black said Wisener would be negotiating with two landowners.
The two-lane bridge on Old Highway 20 has been closed since the Christmas Day 2015 flood. Rushing water knocked out a footer and left the bridge under water for about a week.
In the more than two years since, the Limestone County Commission has worked to secure about $1.8 million in funding to replace the bridge. Costs skyrocketed after federally protected snails were found in Limestone Creek, which flows under the bridge.
Limestone County will pay one-third of the total cost, while the remaining two-thirds will be split between the city of Huntsville and Alabama Department of Transportation.
When asked how soon the bridge might be reopened, Black said it would have to be completed by late 2019 because it would be a major thoroughfare to the planned Toyota-Mazda production facility. Old Highway 20 will be under construction in an effort to make it five lanes, and Greenbrier Road from Interstate 565 north to Old Greenbrier Restaurant will remain two lanes.
"The bridge will be the only way to handle all that construction traffic," Black said. "That's why it's taking shape and moving faster because it's important."
Elsewhere Monday, District 4 Commissioner Ben Harrison heard from Deborah Bentzinger, a resident of Glendell Lane. She spoke at a meeting last month about the condition of her road, which Harrison said could be turned back into a gravel road.
Bentzinger presented Harrison with a petition signed by residents who live on the road who also don't want a gravel road.
Harrison explained he understood the petition, but did not want to chip-seal the road until a number of problems had first been addressed. He said Glendell Lane needs new cross drains and ditching, both of which could take several months to complete.
He explained resurfacing season runs from May through Oct. 1 and there wouldn't be enough time to make the necessary repairs and resurface the road by season's end. Because of that, he said, the road would be gravel for a time.
"The surfaces are so expensive, I want to give (the road) its best shot," Harrison said. "I like to let the road settle over the wintertime. It's less dusty and you can come back the next year and grade it and get it smooth."
In other business, the commission:
--Approved an evaluation and consultation fee agreement with Beneficial Designs Inc. for trail assessment of the Richard Martin Rails to Trails, pending approval by the county attorney;
--Approved a three-year service agreement in the amount of $13,860 with Rapiscan Systems Inc. for maintenance of the courthouse X-ray inspection system;
--Awarded a bid of $398.37 to Staples for security envelopes with window and a bid of $354 to Currie Systems for business cards for the license commission;
--Gave preliminary approval to Legacy Grove addition 10, a 69-lot major subdivision on the north side of Newby Road in District 2;
--Rescinded a bid proposal and award to W.H. Thomas Oil Co. for the remainder of the bid, which runs through Dec. 6; and
--Approved the sale of a Legend bush hog on GovDeals.
After a strong thunderstorm moved through Sunday night, commissioners Stanley Hill, Steve Turner and Harrison reported downed trees in their respective districts.
Black asked those camping and fishing along the river to clean up after themselves.
"If you camp at a location, take your garbage with you," he said.
The commission will meet again for a work session at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 16 at the Washington Street annex.