LIMESTONE COUNTY Ala. -- The bridge on Old Highway 20 near the intersection of Mooresville Road has been closed for repairs since 2015. Local residents are now asking, "What's the hold-up?"
The Limestone County bridge was damaged on Christmas Day 2015 when flooding washed out one of its footers. Repairs have been delayed since then for multiple reasons, one of which is that the bridge runs over Limestone Creek where three different types of endangered snails were found. This forced a redesign of the bridge.
"They fixed that bridge, right down there, like a year before this one went out," said Kathy Ramos, a neighboring resident. "So you would think that the same snails are in the same place. It didn't kill them up there, why's it going to hurt them down here?"
She said the closed bridged is an inconvenience for her neighbors and the farmers in the area.
"I'm thinking Limestone County is wanting to wait to get the city of Huntsville to do it because eventually this will all be annexed into the city of Huntsville," said Ramos. "I don't know how that stuff works, I don't know how the money thing changes from county to county, city, state. You know, don't know, don't care. I just want it fixed."
Limestone County assistant engineer, Marc Massey, said the renovations for the bridge were initially supposed to cost about a million dollars. After all the changes those renovations ended up costing $3 million. He said they have all of the money, but there are other roadblocks.
He added it took some time to get that money. Massey said the Limestone County, the Federal Highway Administration, the Alabama Department of Transportation, and the City of Huntsville all contributed to paying for it.
He said the cost of the bridge escalated so much because the bridge has to be made taller and 80 feet longer.
Massey said right now the project is under review by the Bridge Bureau. He said construction can finally begin once an agreement is in place for the bridges utility relocation and right of way acquisition.
He could not give an exact timeline, but says ideally they could get it done in the next two to three months. Massey said he knows this has been trying for the public, and it has been trying for them as well. He said once construction does start he expects it to take around eight months to a year to complete.