ALDOT Public Meeting
ALDOT held a public meeting about the Mentone Bridge on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005, at the Moon Lake Elementary School Gym. Representatives from ALDOT were available to answer questions about their plans for Project BR-0204(512) for replacement of the bridge over the West Fork of Little River in Mentone.
ALDOT presented six options which are being considered. These are listed below. Please click on an option to see an illustration from ALDOT.
Options 1-4 require demolition of Mentone's existing historic bridge unless someone (such as the Town of Mentone) is willing to purchase the bridge from ALDOT and assume responsibility for slip-and-fall lawsuits and other such liabilities and also to pay for inspections of the bridge every two years as well as to perform necessary maintenance on the bridge. ALDOT representatives at the meeting said (smiling) that they know of no other bridge in Alabama that has been preserved under these terms.
It appears that only Options 5 and 6 will permit preservation of Mentone's historic bridge. These split (side-by-side, single-lane bridges) options have the further advantage of avoiding a stark, bleak, forty-foot-wide bridge in the middle of Mentone threatened by Options 1-4.
Option 5 preserves the view from the river of our existing bridge that so many of us have grown to love. Option 5 also will not require the expensive relocation of the Mentone water line and other utilities. However, Option 5 will require changes in some of the Camp Skyline facilities currently located close to the road.
The original concept of side-by-side, single-lane bridges assumed that the bridges would be adjacent to each other, thus avoiding impact on property owners on either side of the road. ALDOT's Options 5 and 6 have the side-by-side bridges spaced so widely apart that they have as much impact on property owners as Options 1-4. Options 5 and 6, however, illustrate two important design considerations: 1) Mentone's existing, historic bridge is sufficient for use, at least, for single-lane traffic and 2) a new, single-lane bridge can be supported by two beams stretching across Little River from foundation points located no closer together than the ends of the current bridge. Thus, instead of building a new single-lane bridge on one side or the other of the existing bridge, a single beam could be installed on each side of the existing bridge (without unsightly columns) to support extension of the deck of the existing bridge an equal distance to each side. This design makes even more sense, since the railings on the existing bridge are going to have to be removed anyway in bringing it up to current specifications.
At the meeting, ALDOT solicited comments from the public. Such comments should be sent to Johnny L. Harris, Division Engineer, ALDOT, P. O. Box 550, Guntersville, AL 35976-0550. Only comments received prior to May 14, 2005, will be considered by ALDOT in its choice of a final design for the Mentone Bridge project.
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