County may soon dramatically reduce number of bridges unsafe for buses
by Brian Anderson
banderson@annistonstar.com
Feb 14, 2013 | 4995 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With state approval for funding of seven bridge repairs, the number of Calhoun County bridges unable to support school buses could drop to three.

Assistant County Engineer Michael Hosch announced Thursday at the Calhoun County Commission meeting that the state Department of Transportation awarded the county an additional $10 million for nine road projects as part of the department’s Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program.

The governor's office announced the funding last week.

“When I started 12 years ago, there were 66 posted bridges in the county,” said Hosch, explaining that most were unsafe for larger vehicle travel including school buses and commercial trucks. “By the time these projects are completed we’ll be down to about 20.”

The projects – which also included two road resurfacing projects –represented nine of the 10 projects the county submitted in the second part of the three-phase ATRIP program.

ATRIP is funded through government bonds that allow the state to access future federal dollars. As part of the program, the county is matching 20 percent of the department’s approved funds. Along with the first phase of the project, the county has now secured more than $11 million from ATRIP.

Hosch said he expects the bridge projects to be completed in two years, at which time the county will have just three bridges posted for school bus transportation, although some county bridges will have restrictions for other types of vehicles.

“That’s incredible,” said Commission Chairman J.D. Hess. “Across the state of Alabama, not many counties can say that.”

Thursday’s meeting was the first for District 3 commissioner Don Hudson. Hudson was appointed last month by the governor’s office to replace Eli Henderson after more than 18 years on the commission. In his first meeting, Hudson, Oxford’s parks and recreation director, accepted a recommendation to serve on the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program. Officials from the United Way of East Central Alabama requested a commissioner serve on the local board.

In other business, the commission:

-Opened a bid for purchase of a 2013 Ford pickup truck. The lone bid came from Sunny King Ford for $16,043.18.

-Approved bids to purchase dump trucks, tractors and other heavy equipment from Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation and Regions Equipment Finance Corporation.

-Extended contracts with Preachers Lawn Care and D&A Lawn Care through October for grass cutting on several county properties.

-Approved relicensing of several call signs into the county and Emergency Management Agency’s 800 MHz radio frequency.

-Accepted an $8,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Homeland Security for yearly maintenance of communication vehicles and equipment.

-Declared a county-owned 2005 Ford Explorer as surplus, and approved putting the vehicle on sale at GovDeals.com

-Approved a contract with the Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama to contribute $5,000 to the nonprofit.

-Appointed Belinda York to serve as a representative from District 3 on the Calhoun County Beautification Board.

-Reappointed Ann Hooper as the District 5 representative for the Calhoun County Water and Fire Protection Authority Board.

-Approved a contract with Butler Green Waste Management to become the county’s waste management consultant for $1,000 per month.

-Extended a contract with DataWorks Plus for maintenance and support of the Sheriff’s Office fingerprint scanner hardware and software at the cost of $7,900 per year.

-Approved a $25 fee for animal adoption from the County Animal Shelter. The money will go toward the facility and possibly hiring more staff for the shelter.

-Passed nuisance abatement resolutions at 61 Canyon Trail in Alexandria and 117 Robanna Circle in Ohatchee.

-Dismissed nuisance abatements at 5801 Woodchase Drive, 299 Starla Drive and 4309 Wellborn Ave. in Anniston

-Declared nuisance abatements at 478 Morrisville Road, 4420 Lindale Drive and 3107 Oakridge Ave. in Anniston and 432 Silver Circle in Jacksonville.

Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.

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