The bridge for a major Madison roadway will soon be coming down, to be replaced by a newer, more functional version.
Brandon Morris was delighted to hear the City of Madison plans to replace the narrow, old Wall Triana Highway bridge over Mill Creek, especially after he recently teetered between a head-on collision and driving off it altogether.
"Somebody else, coming on the other side, trying to come across the little line," recalled Morris, "and so I try to avoid them and consequently about ran off the bridge."
At its meeting Monday night, the Madison City Council approved an engineering contract to replace the bridge. The project is now scheduled to go out for bids in the first week of April.
City engineers said even though it serves this major north-south artery, the bridge is officially, functionally obsolete, backs up traffic on Wall Triana, affects school bus traffic to nearby Bob Jones High School, and also causes more traffic on nearby Hughes Road as well.
Madison City Engineer Gary Chynoweth said they are happy to get this bridge replaced. "It is one of the worst in terms of function; it is very narrow, very dangerous," he said.
Allison Rhen of Madison echoed Chynoweth's comment about the bridge's width. "It's very narrow. You need to have some more space out there. Even my vehicle, I get a little concerned, even though it is smaller," she said.
Replacing the bridge is expected to cost $500,000, but the state has agreed to pay for 80% of that through ATRIP funding. It was at the top of the list of the city's requests for money, and it was quickly approved.
"It goes to show how badly it was needed," commented Councilman Tim Holcomb, who said the city is anxious to get the bridge replaced.
Replacing the bridge will require Wall Triana to be shut down for about two months. City leaders said they hope to begin work by late spring after school lets out, so it can be done by the time buses are back on the roads in August.
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