In line for replacement: The Alabama Department of Transportation has declared the bridge over Valley Creek on Dallas Avenue as “functionally obsolete” and has scheduled the bridge to be replaced in June. The work will last an estimated three months and cost between $2 and $3 million. -- Tim Reeves

Dallas Avenue bridge to be replaced beginning in June

Published 10:35pm Saturday, January 19, 2013

A bridge on Dallas Avenue, near Memorial Stadium, will close for an estimated three months beginning in June, as it is being replaced by the Alabama Department of Transportation.

During last week’s Selma City Council meeting, Mayor George Evans announced the bridge in Valley Creek is up for replacement. The bridge project, a $2-3 million feat, will be completely funded by ALDOT.

“The bridge is safe to drive on now, I know someone will make up that it’s not, but it’s just time to replace it,” Evans said. “In the occasion that we have a lot going on in March and April, nothing is going to happen with the bridge until June.”

Evans said Hooper Drive would be used as a detour road while the bridge is under construction.

Ward 3 Councilman Greg Bjelke said in the meeting the residents of Hooper Drive and nearby Mallory Drive have already come to him about speeders going through their neighborhood.

“The residents on Hooper [Drive] are already complaining about speeders coming through,” Bjelke said. “Can we make sure that is taken care of before there is a detour?”

Ward 1 Councilman Cecil Williamson also brought forth a concern.

“Bids for the [Old] Cahaba Road paving are up in April — that will be nuts to have the closing of that bridge and the paving of [Old] Cahaba Road at the same time,” Williamson said. “That would be chaos, so we need to keep that in mind as we plan these projects.”

Tommy Burns, with the Selma Country Club said that even though the bridge is close to a par 3 on the golf course, ALDOT engineers told him construction would not affect the course or any playtime for golfers.

An engineer for ALDOT, Clay McBrien, said the preliminary plans for the bridge replacement project are estimated between $2.5 million and $3 million.

The bridge being up for replacement is just part of a priority listing ALDOT puts together based on which bridges need work the most.

“We do a priority ranking based on condition, on whether the bridge is functionally obsolete or functionally insufficient,” McBrien said. “One deals with the bridge restricting traffic and one deals with the condition of the actual bridge itself.”

The bridge on Dallas Avenue is labeled as functionally obsolete, meaning it needs to be replaced based on its condition and its age. Tony Harris, a spokesperson for ALDOT said the department has more than 5,400 bridges throughout the state and each of those bridges are routinely inspected.

“We replace about 40 bridges a year at the cost of about $80 million total and we work bridges through a planning cycle that prioritizes them based on their age and the findings of those inspections,” Harris said. “We try to replace those bridges at the appropriate time as the bridge reaches the end of the life cycle.”

Harris confirmed the new bridge will have pedestrian access and the new bridge would be modernized, meaning things like the bridge railings would be safer for collisions.

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