Residents plead to keep bridge open

Published 12:08 am Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Approximately 80 people were present Tuesday night when the county commission’s workshop meeting opened with a public hearing on the proposed closing of a bridge on County Road 107 over Pigeon Creek.

The bridge was damaged late last year when it was hit by a truck, and was closed while county crews repaired it to a standard that it is safe for three tons. But keeping big trucks that exceed that weight limit off the bridge has been a problem.

Previously, county engineer Darren Capps estimated it would cost $2.5 million to replace the bridge, which is 88 years old, and he and County Chairman Bill Godwin have said the county can’t afford to replace it. They have suggested building a new road from County Road 107 to Hwy. 55.

Speaking at the hearing, Cecil Lloyd said closing a paved road “goes against logic,” and that closing the bridge would essentially close the road.

“Y’all are acting like this has zero importance other than to make life easy on District 4 Rednecks who want to go get beer at Brooks.”

Lloyd estimated that if the bridge were closed, residents of Lloyd Mill Road would spend upward of $800 per year on additional travel.

Lloyd told commissioners that governments have until May 31 to request ATRIP funds for road projects.

“You cannot convince me that our bridge would not qualify,” he said.

Michael Bush is a minister and Buck Creek Fire Department first responder who has lived on Lloyd Mill Road since 1968. He said keeping the bridge open is a public safety issue.

Buck Creek Fire Chief Robert Morris agreed.

“That bridge is important,” he said. “Apparently y’all got in your mind it’s better on the county and cheaper (to close it) or you wouldn’t be having this meeting.”

Godwin said the commission would deliberate on the issue at a later regular meeting.