Birmingham moves to replace Grants Mill bridge

The Shelby County Highway Department moved one step closer to helping replace a condemned bridge on Grants Mill Road after the Birmingham City Council took steps toward funding the project.

The Grants Mill Road bridge over Lake Purdy lies in Birmingham, but thousands of Shelby County residents used the bridge to travel from Alabama 119 to Interstate 459 before the bridge was shut down in December 2009.

Though Birmingham officials have been discussing replacing the 74-year-old bridge for many years, the city’s 2009 mayoral election placed the project on hold, Shelby County Engineer Randy Cole previously said.

But the Birmingham City Council voted March 9 to begin seeking money to complete the bridge and several other projects throughout the city.

During the March 9 meeting, the Birmingham council designated a “recovery zone” for the city, which included the Grants Mill Road bridge project.

Birmingham will be eligible to issue bonds for all projects included in the recovery zone list, and will be able to receive a federal tax credit equal to 45 percent of the total bonds issued for all recovery zone projects.

Once the bridge replacement is funded, the Shelby County Highway Department will provide manpower to help Birmingham and Jefferson County crews replace the bridge, Cole said.

Work on the bridge could begin within the next few months, pending bridge design approval by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.