JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A bridge on Highway 117 near Stevenson is overdue for some updates, according to the Alabama Department of Transportation. On Tuesday, it started its journey under a “major rehabilitation project.”
The Captain John Snodgrass Bridge is about a quarter-mile long. Its facelift is projected to take about two years to complete, and that could mean some changes for drivers who take this route.
Seth Burkett with ALDOT said the $6.3 million project will include updates to some of the structural steel, concrete and painting in hopes of prolonging the lifespan of the bridge for decades. In order to get those changes in motion, the two-lane bridge has to be reduced to a single lane.
Those on the roads will notice temporary traffic lights to direct motorists, one direction at a time. Occasionally, traffic both ways will be stopped intermittently throughout the day for overhead work.
First responders, Burkett said, will be prioritized in the case of an emergency.
Burkett says construction on any of the Tennessee River crossings can be tricky, and the Snodgrass bridge is no exception.
The nearest Alabama-based river bridge is more than 20 miles away near Scottsboro; the other, is more than 15 miles away in Tennessee.
ALDOT estimates the bridge sees about 3,000 vehicles daily.
Burkett said for some who travel the bridge, choosing alternative routes could be worth the extra drive time depending on their location, but for those considering staying the course, he has some advice.
“Give it a few days for traffic patterns to normalize. Whenever you start off doing something, it always seems more severe than it is. Once things smooth out and we get the kinks worked out — so give it a few days, allow traffic patterns to normalize and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what it’s going to be like over the course of the next few years. We hate to inconvenience people but it’s going to be an inconvenience in the short term for a long-term benefit,” Burkett said.
On construction days that could potentially cause major stoppages, ALDOT says it’ll alert people in the area early, so that way they know what to expect when they’re heading out the door. They recommend drivers who travel the route, to use ALGO. They’ll also be updating the project’s Facebook page, here.