Project Creates Safer Passage On County Road, Protects Natural Habitat

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ESTILLFORK, Ala. (WHNT) -- A collaboration between local and federal agencies is restoring a natural habitat and making a county road safer.

A bridge on County Road 140 in Estillfork in Jackson County is a far cry from what used to be there.

"Whenever we had big rains the crossing we had before would get flooded," Jackson County Commission Chair Matthew Hodges says.

There was another problem with the old bridge as well.

"The structure that was here, the ford for crossing the road, caused a little bit of damage to the stream by blocking the movement of the fish that needed to swim upstream and downstream and changed the natural habitat,"  Aquatic Ecologist for the The Nature Conservancy Paul Freeman says.

So multiple agencies including the TVA, Jackson County, The Nature Conservancy and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service got together to change it and make it better for the residents and the area's wildlife.

"The new bridge completely spans the stream and allows for safe passage for the people who cross the road and also a much easier passage for fish underneath," Freeman says.

Jackson County leaders say they hope to work again with these organizations and agencies on other projects in the future.

The project is part of TVA's Natural Resource Plan.

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