Hwy. 25 bridge over Camp Branch Creek to be replaced

Published 5:53 pm Friday, February 2, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

CALERA – The bridge over Camp Branch Creek on Highway 25 is set to be replaced thanks to funding from both Shelby County and the state of Alabama.

On Wednesday, Jan. 31, Gov. kay Ivey announced that more than $40 million in state transportation funding is being awarded to cities and counties for various road and bridge projects. Included in those projects is a replacement of the bridge over Camp Branch on Hwy 25 between Columbiana and Calera.

“This is the fifth and final bridge project on Highway 25 in my district,” said Corley Ellis, Alabama Representative for District 41.

Since coming into office, Ellis has made it a mission to replace five bridges on Hwy 25 and with the Camp Branch one on the way, they will soon all be completed.

“These bridges on Highway 25 were kind of my pet project,” Ellis said. “I knew they needed to be replaced, and I wanted to get those done for the citizens of my district.”

The bridge over Camp Branch is 20 feet wide and was built nearly a century ago in 1928.

“It’s extremely narrow,” County Engineer David Willingham said. “I think the lane probably narrows from 12 feet to 10 feet as you cross the bridge, so it’s difficult to pass even a passenger vehicle going the opposite direction—especially if you meet a large truck. That’s the need for widening that bridge, it’s a safety concern.”

Funding for the project was made possible in part thanks to the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program-II (ATRIP-II), a program that was created though the Rebuild Alabama Act.

“A vast majority of these bridges, without Rebuild Alabama and ATRIP-II, would still be in their crumbling state,” Ellis said. “We would not have been able to pull this off and get this done without Rebuild Alabama. There’s no question about that.”

Funding for the bridge replacement is divided between a local amount from the county of up to $585,000 alongside $1,862,676 from ATRIP-II for a total cost of $2,447,676.

With the grant funding for the project now approved, the designing and bidding process must take place before construction. Willingham projects that the replacement may be complete by sometime in 2026.

“Each project is different,” he said. “There can be unique circumstances that are encountered, but on the last project, which I would say went very well, it took about a year to complete the design and bidding process and a year to construct it as well. If it’s open to traffic in a couple of years then that would have been a very good, tight schedule.”

The ATRIP-II funding for the project comes from an annual program that sets aside a minimum of $30 million off the top of the Alabama Department of Transportation’s share of gas tax revenue for projects of local interest on the state highway system.

Alongside the Camp Branch bridge replacement are 25 other projects that were selected for a total of more than $40 million. The state has now awarded more than $180 million in state transportation funds under ATRIP-II since 2019.

“Through the continued, steadfast implementation of the Rebuild Alabama Act, I’m proud to announce the allocation of over $40 million in state transportation funding,” Ivey said. “This is a substantial investment that underscores our dedication to enhancing roads and bridges statewide. Alabamians deserve nothing short of excellence in their infrastructure, and Rebuild Alabama is continuing to deliver long-term results that are felt across every stretch of our state.”