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County bridges are improved thanks to bond

By By ANNA M. LEE Assistant Editor
Escambia County bridges are being rejuvenated, thanks to a multi-million dollar bond.
The state legislature issued a Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE) bond in 2000 to allocate $3.25 million to each county in Alabama for the repair and replacement of bridges over a five-year period, said county engineer John Downing.
One condition of the bond is that all of the money must be assigned to specific bridge projects by November 2005.
Work on five bridges has been completed already. The finished bridges are the Narrow Gap Creek bridge on County Rd. 18, the Little River bridge on Presswood Rd., the Bowler Mill Creek bridge on County Rd. 43, the Amos Mill Creek bridge on County Rd. 43 and the Jernigan Creek bridge on old Hwy. 31.
One bridge on Appleton Rd. and one bridge at Fletcher Creek on Ewing Drive are expected to be completed in the next few weeks, Downing said.
In addition to those seven bridges, the Brushy Creek bridge in Atmore and the Murder Creek bridge in Kirkland are planned for construction soon.
After the GARVEE bond project ends, there will still be weight limits on 25 to 30 structures in the county. A new bond, if approved by the legislature, would cover the repair and replacement of those bridges, Downing said.
Alabama counties without need for bridge repair and replacement could use the $3.25 million for road resurfacing.
The Conecuh River project, not included as part of the GARVEE bond project, will result in 2.3 miles of new road and four new bridges.
Downing expects that work to be completed by July 2004.
The project will cost $7 million and is being paid for by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration and the Alabama Department of Transportation.