ASBURY, Ala. (WHNT) – The Marshall County Commission received about $4 million in grant funding to replace a dangerous, deadly stretch of road north of Albertville.
Commission chairman James Hutcheson said the stretch of Martling Road commonly referred to as the Double Bridges needed to be changed decades ago.
“It’s not a large community and that’s probably one reason the project hadn’t been moved forward in the past and I’m just excited for all the people that live in that area,” He said.
“I’m just elated that we’re able to finally do something with that area down there and improve the safety there for everyone–the fire departments, the school buses, you’ve got a lot of poultry industry in that area, you’ve got feed trucks that have to take the long way around–it’s going to improve everyone’s standard of living in that community up there.”
An Asbury Volunteer Fire Department truck slid off the side in 2006 and fell 40 feet.
Several firefighters were hurt, and 17-year-old Alethea Faye Nixon lost her life.
Her family is thrilled to hear they will no longer have to drive the route where she died.
“I think about it every time I cross it, but I have to cross it because it’s the only way in and out,” Donald Nixon said about the pair of single-lane bridges.
“It’s a tight 90 degree turn going onto the bridge and coming off the bridge you have to make another 90 degree turn and it’s just a one lane bridge,” he said.
“Somebody’s having to wait just about all the time.”
“It was built as cheap as they could build it and they didn’t really build them for expansion or the future,” commissioner Hutcheson said.
“It was a farmer’s market road, and at that time there was very low traffic.”
The route is far from direct, as the road takes a long roundabout including a hairpin curve.
“We’re going to basically connect the two existing roads straight across,” Hutcheson said.
It will be a two lane bridge.
The commission chairman credits state highway director and Marshall County native John Cooper with finally getting the funding, and said several others were also involved in a long application process to request grants that began years before Alethea Nixon’s death.
“I would love to thank every one of them personally if I could,” Donald Nixon said.
“I’m just proud that they finally got it, and maybe we’ll get it done before too long.”
Hutcheson said it will likely take about a year to purchase the property along the right of way in order to complete the engineering process, and then accept bids for construction.
He hopes to then build the bridge in 12 to 18 months, with a completion goal of Fall 2015.