Bridges are a health hazard

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 29, 2004

In today's edition of the Star-News, we begin a series of stories relating to bridges in Covington County. In this introductory story, we've told you about the hazards school busses in this county face regarding the bridges - more specifically the inconveniences these hazards pose for the busses and their precious cargo.

Covington County has made great strides through the years to rid itself of these old wooden bridges - many of which support only three tons or less. However, the fact, as pointed out by County Commissioner Glenn Powell, remains that there are far too many of these bridges in our county.

In the coming days and weeks, we will try and bring about more information that pertains to these bridges and the hazards they pose. Believe it or not, some of these bridges are probably several decades old.

In the past, people would wonder what the big deal is regarding these wooden bridges. The fact that they're located on dusty dirt roads used primarily by hunters and off-road adventurers cause many to think the bridges aren't that important.

Now, with more knowledge surfacing about school busses having to travel six to eight miles out of the way to avoid a potentially hazardous bridge, maybe more people will take light of the situation.

In the headline of this editorial, we said the bridges are a health hazard. We say that because it's another matter of fact. Consider the possibility that a bus were to slip off one of these bridges - which have no side railings, cause the bridge to collapse with a bus load of elementary school students, or make it across the bridge, only to see the next vehicle fall into a river or creek due to a weakened structure. That's a health hazard - a potential life or death health hazard.

Plus consider the track record of lawsuits in Alabama, and this is just another lawsuit waiting to happen. Our state is in bad enough financial shape - it couldn't take another major lawsuit, and our county can't either.

What we've got to do is rally behind those trying to fix these bridges and work together to fix them.