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Lee Street bridge closed ‘until further notice’

For those who travel from East Brewton to Brewton, the closure of the Lee Street bridge that connects the two cities is causing some traffic issues.

Craig Jerkins, head of the pubic works department for the City of Brewton said the bridge that spans Murder Creek was closed as a result of Hurricane Sally on Sept. 16.

“The bridge was closed when flooding occurred following Hurricane Sally,” Jerkins said. “After the flood waters cleared, we began looking at what needed to be done to get the bridge open to the public.”

Jerkins said Murphy Bridge Corporation came to town last week to work on debris removal at the base of the bridge.

“There was a lot of debris there that had to be removed,” Jerkins said. “We had trees, limbs, just about anything you can imagine that had gotten tangled up in the bridge supports. That had to be removed before any inspection of the span could be done.”

Jerkins said since the bridge closure is tied to Hurricane Sally, an inspection will be performed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to determine if there is damage and just how much there is to repair.

“We really don’t know what that inspection will show,” Jerkins said. “We just have to wait and see. Now that the debris has been removed, we are in contact with FEMA to let them know we are ready for inspection. Once they take a look at the bridge, we will know a little more about what we are dealing with. But, since we don’t have a specific timeline for when that FEMA inspection will take place, we have to keep the bridge closed. We will keep it closed until further notice.”

Jerkins said he hopes to hear from FEMA sometime this week to plan an inspection and get repairs underway.

“If we have repairs to do, we will do those as quickly as we can,” Jerkins said. “But until we know what we’re looking at we have no way of knowing just how long it would take to get the bridge ready to safely open to traffic.

The 476-foot long bridge was orginally constructed on Lee Street in 1978. The concrete channel beam bridge has a total of 14 spans along the length.

The bridge is often used by those traveling from East Brewton into Brewton since the traffic is one-way for the bridge.

Drivers who typically use that route for travel, be prepared to use the Forrest Avenue bridge as an alternate route until further notice.