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County Engineer gives update on recent bridge projects

Covington County Engineering Department recently replaced the east most bridge along Point A Road.

County engineer Lynn Ralls said by using strictly county workforce, the county was able to save $215,579.

“It took 28 working days to build a three-span 88-foot precast bridge with county forces,” Ralls said. “The county cost of the bridge for the labor, equipment and materials was approximately $272,884.00. At today’s contract prices for a contractor to build the same bridge based on State estimates would be nearly $488,463 for a total savings of $215,579. The County repurposed the old bridge components to improve the boat ramp along Boat Landing Road at the Point A park primitive camping area.”

The Covington County Commission approved the purchase of a 70-ton American crane back in June of 2017 for the purchase price of $103,500 along with a new hammer and leeds for $59,500.

“Since purchasing the equipment, the County has now replaced three bridges in the County,” Ralls said. “The first was on Freddie Carter road, which was a 2 span 68-foot bridge. The second was on Mitchell Road that was taken out by the December flood event of 2015, which was qualified under FEMA funding. This bridge was a 3 span 102-foot bridge.”

The Covington County Commission applied for the FLAP (Federal Land Access Program Grant) and was awarded funding for 6 structures within the Conecuh National Forest.

“All structures were posted for 3 tons,” Ralls said. “The funding for this grant totaled $797,579.50 federal portion. The county matching funds are capped at $652,928.50, which includes engineering services, labor and equipment.”

The county let the first FLAP project along Sanders road, which replace the wooden bridge with a 10 x 6 poured in place box culvert base on ALDOT’s bridge bureau recommendations.

“The project cost totaled $129,675.41,” Ralls said. “This project was completed this past fall and is now open to traffic. The remaining 5 structures of the FLAP grant will precast bridges and built by county forces. The County anticipates that 3 of the structures will be constructed this year.  The project locations for the three structures are 1 along Sanders road and the other 2 along the Falco Road. The remaining 2 bridges for the 2021 year will be along the Giles road near the Escambia County Line.”

Covington County anticipates $800,000 to $900,000 in savings of taxpayer dollars for constructing the 5 bridges with county forces. Covington County is one of only two counties in the state that drives pile and construct their bridges from start to finish.

“This has been the practice in Covington County since the mid 90’s with steel piling and precast bridge components and prior years with timber deck and timber piles,” Ralls said. “Since the mid 70’s, Covington County has replaced well over 100 plus bridges throughout the county under the supervision of Mr. Bill McClain, Darren Capps and myself.”

Covington County infrastructure rankings are listed below:

BRIDGES

  1. Jefferson        297
  2. Covington      283
  3. Madison         252
  4. Tuscaloosa     209
  5. Montgomery  205
  6. Shelby                        189
  7. Lauderdale    189
  8. Jackson           185
  9. Fayette           172
  10. Geneva           168

Total Miles

  1. Jefferson        2100
  2. Tuscaloosa     1606
  3. Baldwin          1567
  4. Cullman          1563
  5. DeKalb           1470
  6. Mobile                        1402
  7. Madison         1400
  8. Lauderdale    1382
  9. Covington      1290
  10. Marshall         1168

Paved Miles

  1. Jefferson        2100
  2. Madison         1400
  3. Baldwin          1378
  4. Cullman          1334
  5. Lauderdale    1293
  6. Tuscaloosa     1241
  7. DeKalb           1145
  8. Mobile                        1130
  9. Calhoun          1112
  10. Marshall         1065
  1. Covington 630

Unpaved Miles

  1. Covington      660
  2. Randolph       550
  3. Clarke             509
  4. Geneva           507
  5. Winston          479
  6. Pickens           458
  7. Washington   443
  8. Crenshaw       433
  9. Lamar             410
  10. Chilton            396