A major agreement between Houston County and the Alabama Department of Transportation has been approved. The big changes are taking place to make bridges safer in Houston County.
The bridges have been around for decades, but now officials are saying out with the old and in with the new.
Chairman Mark Culver, with the Houston Co. Commission says, "We've known it's been a problem for quite a while. Anytime you've got bridges that are posted and can't [hold] buses, dumptrucks, and other things like that, it creates a lot of expense."
It’s a big expense the county struggled to find funding for.
Seven years ago, there were more than 40 bridges that heavy trucks and school buses couldn't cross.
However, thanks to a state funded bridge program, there are only a few left.
"Soon, as we get through with the two we just approved today, we'll be down to four bridges that are left that school buses can't cross and we plan to have those addressed within the next year or two," Culver explains.
Officials say when they're all complete, not only will it be safer for the public, but it will also save the county money.
Houston County Engineer Mark Pool says, "It's going to save the school board a lot of money because they've been having to detour and everything. Concrete trucks, asphalt trucks, lime and fertilizer trucks are having to detour around these bridges."
Even though the older bridges have concrete decks, Pool says they're supported by timber structures, which rot very easily.
Each new bridge takes about four to five months to build.
The two bridge projects approved at Monday’s commission meeting were the Hopkins Road at Cedar Creek Bridge in Webb and the Baxter Road at Lamp Creek Bridge in Ashford.