The four old bridges on Old 431 near Hampton Cove are well-known. The expense of replacing them is the only thing that keeps them in service. Up to now, Madison County hasn't had the money to make a change, and structurally the bridges are considered sound. The problem is, they're essentially only a single lane wide, which means two-way traffic isn't allowed.
The bridges still function because drivers on the south end of each of them are directed to stop and yield to oncoming traffic. The system seems to work most of the time. "People here like myself, who've lived here a long time, we usually do pretty good, but there's the other people who don't come through here as much," says Angie Tipton.
What concerns Angie the most is the longest of the four bridges. On the north end there's a curve. It means the drivers on the south end of the bridge have a tougher time visually. "You can't see the cars coming that you're supposed to yield to," says Angie.
Something that makes the situation worse, is when there's a line of traffic going north. Driver's can't see around each other to watch for oncoming vehicles. Another problem, drivers going south who drive too fast, and don't give the drivers who are supposed to yield, time to make the correct decision.
If you want a verdict on the bridge as it's used right now, just ask Angie Tipton. "It's very dangerous," she says. Angie doesn't know what would help, but she's willing to try anything. From new signs, to bigger signs, to a flashing caution light, Angie wants something to make the bridge safer.
We're taking action and bringing her concerns to Madison County officials.