Future of the Edmund Pettus Bridge

Published 4:09 pm Monday, March 25, 2019

Dear Editor,

Repairs to the Edmund Pettus Bridge bring to mind two observations, one serious and one tongue and check, which may prevent our once lovely city from going the way of ancient Atlantis.

Named for a United States Senator from Selma, a soldier in the United States Army in the Mexican-American War, a distinguished attorney in Dallas County for more than 50 years, a judge and district attorney, the Pettus Bridge will soon be 80 years old.

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According to the Nondestructive Testing Resource Center, the average life span of highway bridges is about 70 years. By this standard, the Pettus Bridge is unsafe, out of date and needs to be replaced.

With the passage of the proposed gasoline tax, much of the revenue will be designated for new bridges. Now is the time for our political and business leaders to begin to get a new bridge for our city and for our safety. Not only would a new bridge be safer, its construction would remove the third world deterioration presently on both sides of the Alabama River.

As I proposed when I was on the city council, the Pettus Bridge should be turned in a pedestrian-only bridge. The Pettus Bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a U.S. Historic Landmark. A fee should be charged for entering the bridge, as it is at most all historic places, and the revenue generated given by the state and federal government for the city’s infrastructure.

If we cannot get a new bridge and turn the Pettus Bridge into a money maker, my other suggestion is to simply blow up the Pettus Bridge, change the name of Selma and begin our history from today.

Otherwise, a hundred years from now people will be searching and wondering if Selma, like Atlantis, ever existed at all.

Cecil Williamson