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Lee Street bridge to be inspected

The City of Brewton may be one step closer to the reopening of the Lee Street Bridge after the structure was closed following Hurricane Sally’s visit to the area on Sept. 16.

Russell Holland with Southern Engineering explained to the Brewton City Council the process needed in order to move forward on the Lee Street bridge that connects Brewton and East Brewton over Murder Creek.

“The city is required every two years to have a bridge inspection on the Lee Street Bridge,” Holland told the council last week. “The bridge did receive some damage during Hurricane Sally. In conjunction with the event that the bridge is shut down currently from Hurricane Sally and the fact that the city is due for the two-year inspection, we reached out to Volkert to come down and do a full inspection of the bridge.”

No date has been set for the inspection, however, the process could take some time due to the scope of work to be involved, Holland said.

“The inspection process involves not only visual inspection of the structure but a structural inspection involving a dive team,” Holland said. “The cost of the inspection with Volkert is $4784 which is in-line with what we’ve seen from other inspection companies especially when you add in the underwater inspection of the bridge.”

Following an approval of payment for the inspection fees to Volkert, Holland said the city would be able to move forward with the inspection.

“We can go ahead and have the bridge inspected,” Holland said. “ALDOT (Alabama Department of Transportation) requires the city to have the bridge inspected every two years and we’re a little behind now, but they understand because of the storm caused us a delay. This will satisfy ALDOTs requirements of the city.”

The bridge was closed following Hurricane Sally when a large amount of vegetative debris was trapped along the base of the bridge and the span.

According to Craig Jerkins, head of the public works department for the City of Brewton, at the time of the storm’s passing, the debris collection posed a hazard to the structure.

“We had trees, limbs, just about anything you can imagine that had gotten tangled up in the bridge supports,” Jerkins said in October. “We don’t know what the inspection will show. We just have to wait and see.”