County seeks bridge money

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 18, 2009

The city of Troy’s not the only local entity that looks to find funding from the federal government.

The Pike County Road Department has jumped on board, as well. Only they have a different agenda.

While Troy looks to find $12.5 million to fund an east-west connector road that spans from George Wallace Drive to Montgomery Street from a federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant, the county road department is looking for help in replacing six local bridges.

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Another difference is Pike County’s not seeking the funds alone.

County Engineer Russell Oliver said Pike County has partnered with about 35 of those in the state in hopes of earning funds.

If awarded, Oliver said the county will earn $2.5 million for these bridge replacements.

“I think it’s a more attractive grant than if Pike County was doing it alone,” Oliver said.

The six bridges are on County Road 5521, over Beaver Pond Branch, County Road 3302 over an unnamed tributary to Walnut Creek, County Road 2228 over Big Creek or “Burned out Bridge,” County Road 3338 over an unnamed creek, County Road 1116 over Mill Creek and County Road 2214 over Indian Creek.

Since there are multiple counties partnering, Oliver said Elmore County has officially submitted the grant on their behalf.

Oliver said each of the bridges on the list have all been in the works since 2001.

“Back in 2001, the state of Alabama had passed an amendment called Amendment 1,” Oliver said.

“The amendment was to use future proceeds from the Alabama Trust Fund to pay off bonds and the bonds were issued to match federal dollars.”

That meant Pike County received $6.3 million in bridge replacement funds. But after some bridges were replaced and plans were made for others, the funds were exhausted.

Even though Pike County and the city of Troy have different projects, they are competing against each other for funds.

“Hopefully we’ll both get ours,” Oliver said.