By Erica Thomas, managing editor
TRUSSVILLE — Jefferson County crews will return to Floyd Bradford Road this week to attempt a temporary fix to failed culverts that caused the county to close the road in February this year.
Commissioner Joe Knight sent a letter with an update on efforts to reopen the road. In the letter, Knight said he does not want to provide false hope, in case crews are unable to complete the project. He said the temporary fix includes stabilizing the failed culverts, placing sleeves inside them to carry water under the roadway and possibly reopening one lane to allow traffic flow.
“The closure of Floyd Bradford Road continues to be a major headache and inconvenience for those living near the area of the closure,” Knight said in the letter. “People are having to take detours of many miles just to get to work or to go to any other destination on the other side of the breach.”
Knight said he has heard from businesses, including B&J Food Mart, that have been severely impacted by the closure.
“I wish I could make the situation less disruptive, however, the complexity of this project and unforeseen circumstances have presented major roadblocks,” Knight said.
The part of the roadway that is currently closed is near Smith Sims Road. The culverts under the roadway allow waters of Stinking Creek to flow into the Cahaba River. Knight said the county was already planning to construct a new section of roadway that would straighten the road and move the bridge further downstream when the culverts failed.
Heavy rainfall stalled efforts to build the new road and bridge, according to Knight.
“The county has continued to work with the bridge construction contractor to accelerate construction of the new road and bridge,” added Knight. “The anticipated completion date is late summer or early fall. The cost will be about $4 million.”
Knight said more heavy rainfall, which lasted through March, caused further breaches in the culverts and have also made it impossible for crews to assess them up until now.
To add to the complication of a temporary fix, there are two large pipelines in the roadbed shoulder.
“One is a 10-inch water pipe and the other is a 24-inch pipe which is a main source of drinking water for the city of Leeds,” Knight explained. “The pipes are slated to be moved to coincide with the building of the new road and will be done through the Birmingham Water Works contractors at the appropriate time. Any attempt to span the bridge or replace the culverts would be risky in causing a break or failure in these lines.”
The county hopes to get a clear view of the culverts this week. Although it is unclear what the county will find when crews examine the breaches of the culvert. Knight said it is his hope that something can be done in the coming weeks to allow traffic in the area.
“I do not mean or intend to give false hope, but I wanted to inform our residents of what we are doing to get this important roadway open again in weeks instead of months,” Knight said.
You can read the letter in its entirety below.floyd bradford road. 05.19.20