GENEVA, AL (WTVY) - Seven bridges and a little over 3.6 million dollars later…Geneva County has seven safer roadways…thanks to the Rural Assistance Match Program.
Road Work Sign - File / Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
RAMP is a program that helps counties participates in road and bridge improvements.
Justin Barfield, Geneva County Engineer, says "We have to grade and maintain all the structures in the county and as the structures deteriorate, we have to drop the weight limits thus limit inhibiting school buses, first responders, fire trucks, farm trucks, etc."
The project began in the fall of 2015 and was just completed this summer.
Barfield says "These projects were actually led through contract and local bridge contractors- they did the work."
One of the biggest issues with a project like this… is the weather.
"Typically with construction, you want to have the best weather as possible because you're working in and around creeks and rising waters. You want the fewer amounts of rainy days as possible to get the road back open," replied Barfield.
Crew members worked as fast as possible to re-open those roads.
"These bridges were passable to pedestrian traffic, but there would be a two...depending on size of structure...two to six month period where the roads were closed," says Barfield.
The bridges were wooden and could not be used by school buses or emergency vehicles thus increasing the amount of time to get kids to school or the response time for emergency vehicles.
Toby Seay, Geneva County Commissioner, says "It was a much needed project, replacing seven bridges that school buses could not cross. Our goal in Geneva County is to continue to upgrade our infrastructure whenever possible."
As of right now, due to their current budget, there are no future plans to replace anymore bridges. However, Barfield hopes to replace more in the future.
"We have over 170 structures that cross streams, and creeks, and rivers, and etc...We really need to be replacing at least two structures a year to stay on top of the issue,” says Barfield.
Barfield says without programs such as RAMP, road and bridge replacements would not be possible with their county budget.
"This money was federal / state money but we had to put it towards bridges that school buses...etc...could cross. So, these were top seven of our structures that we wanted to replace," says Barfield.
Barfield and his team started a resurfacing project Monday on County Road 49. It’s about a two and a half mile long project and is expected to be completed in the middle of August.