Grants Mill Road bridge soon to open

Published 9:21 am Friday, August 26, 2011

The Grants Mill Road bridge will open within weeks, according to State Sen. Slade Blackwell.

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

After almost two years of waiting, Shelby County residents will soon be able to use the Grants Mill Road bridge to commute to Birmingham again.

State Sen. Slade Blackwell, R-Birmingham, said the bridge is set to open in mid-September.

Blackwell said he recently spoke with Bob Smith Construction, the company responsible for the bridge construction, and company officials said construction is on schedule.

“Right now, they’re on schedule to turn the bridge over in two weeks to (Birmingham),” Blackwell said Aug. 26.

Before the construction company can turn the bridge over to the city, the concrete used to build the bridge must be tested for stability. After those tests are completed satisfactorily, Birmingham can take possession of the bridge, Blackwell said.

“All of that is looking very positive, and they don’t expect any problems,” Blackwell said.

The construction company is currently installing guardrails leading to the bridge, he said.

When the city of Birmingham takes possession, officials will spend a week cleaning the right of way, cutting bushes down and ensuring the route is safe for motorists, Blackwell said.

He said residents of Shelby County are ready to have the bridge route available again.

“Everybody’s excited that it’s moving forward, and very excited that it’s actually stayed on schedule,” he said. “There were 8,000 cars a day that used that bridge, and everybody’s just holding their breath that the bridge opens again.”

Birmingham officials closed the bridge in December 2009, after it was condemned. Thousands of Shelby County residents used the bridge to commute from Alabama 119 in North Shelby to Interstate 459 in Birmingham before it was closed.

Since the bridge was closed, motorists have been forced to drive several miles past Grants Mill Road to Ziegler Road, and then south on Rex Lake Road to get back to Grants Mill Road.