FLORETTE, Ala. (WHNT) - We're taking action and getting results tonight on a viewers concern about a rural Morgan County road. There's a culvert along Pines Road with a load limit of only 12 tons. The concern is whether fire trucks could safely get to homes on the other side of the culvert, or would they have to drive miles out of the way, losing valuable time to get to a call for help.
It's been a number of months since the load limit for the culvert was lowered to just 12 tons. That's not a problem for cars or pick-up trucks, but heavier vehicles are known to use this roadway. One viewer told us they feared fire trucks wouldn't be able to get to homes beyond the culvert without driving miles out of the way to come in from another direction.
We checked and found the larger fire trucks at the nearby Florette Fire Department do in fact exceed the 12 ton limit.
Betty Kelso-Clough has a cattle business on the other side of the culvert. She was unaware that firefighters may have trouble getting to her home. "Well they have to do what they're required to do but I'm sure this is something that can be fixed before long," she said.
"I am familiar with that culvert," says District 4 County Commissioner Greg Abercrombie. He tells WHNT News 19 that he talked with firefighters about the culvert approximately six months ago and says, "most of the trucks that they have are able to cross it without any trouble." Also, there are fire hydrants scattered throughout that area. So while the heavier tanker trucks might need to go around for now, getting water to fight a fire in that area shouldn't be a problem. Commissioner Abercrombie, with a well established record of addressing these issues head-on, says the culvert is checked annually and if it deteriorates, he says they'll make it right.
Florette firefighters declined to speak with us on camera for this story. But in a statement from them late Thursday afternoon, they say they are concerned about the culvert, but they'll cross it if they need to.