Kirby Bridge in Morgan County slated to close June 1st through 2016

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Motorists who drive from Danville to get to Decatur and other places are about to be inconvenienced for at least a year.

The Kirby Bridge which crosses the Flint River is about to be closed off.

On Wednesday, surveyors were doing prep work for a project to replace the Kirby Bridge. It will take them through 2016 to complete.

“People just need to be patient,” said Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long. “I mean it’s a long process but we’re trying to use their tax money wisely.”

Long says the county is using a minimal amount of tax money to get a maximum amount of work done. Crews will start work June first replacing the 50-year-old bridge.

“It’s got some age on it,” said Long. “We know eventually it’s gonna need replacing so when we was able to get the ATRIP money, 80-20 match, we said now’s the time to do it.”

The 2,200 drivers who cross Kirby bridge every day have several alternative routes available depending on their destination. One is the Danville Road bridge. Workers are building a replacement bridge there too, but they’ve kept the old bridge open during the process. The county engineer says it will be at least three more months before that one is finished.

“It’s an inconvenience but you know, it’s progress and sometimes we just have to suffer through that to get better bridges,” said Long. He explained the two bridge projects are costing about $8 million total but the county is only paying 20 percent. The federal government picks up the rest of the tab through ATRIP funds, distributed by the state.

In the end, residents will have two water and safer bridges to use to get from one end of Morgan County to the other. Other alternate routes include Highway 31 and using roadways through Lawrence County.