County to aid with Birmingham bridge replacement

Shelby County Highway Department crews are ready to help Birmingham and Jefferson County officials replace a condemned bridge on Grants Mill Road, said Shelby County Engineer Randy Cole.

Although the nearly 75-year-old Grants Mill Road bridge over Lake Purdy lies in Birmingham in eastern Jefferson County, many Shelby County residents used the bridge to travel from Alabama 119 to Interstate 459, Cole said.

However, drivers have had to detour several miles around the bridge since Birmingham officials closed the structure in Dec. 2009.

“We just have so many Shelby County residents who are greatly inconvenienced by the bridge being closed,” Cole said. “The bridge is quite old, and it’s still completely closed to traffic.”

Because the bridge lies in Birmingham city limits, the city’s recent mayoral election has postponed the project, said Cole.

“That project is dormant right now while the new administration in Birmingham gets settled,” Cole said. “I would love for Birmingham to go ahead with this project as soon as they can.”

Once construction on a new bridge begins, Shelby County will provide its bridge crew to help the Birmingham and Jefferson County crews with the build.

“We would just assist in erecting the bridge,” Cole said. “Since so many people in Shelby County will use that bridge, we’re just offering our services as a gesture to Birmingham and Jefferson County.

“As far as a total cost for the project, I haven’t really heard anything,” he added. “The quicker we can get started with this, the better.”