While standing on Brand Road in the hamlet of Rural Grove, Montgomery County officials and engineers announced the opening of two bridges.
County Executive Matt Ossenfort said the redesigned bridges, on Brand and Logtown roads, are safer than before and will save residents time while traveling. Ossenfort said the bridges, as originally constructed, had caused numerous accidents and were deemed unsafe.
The bridge on Logtown Road was unable in the past to be used by school buses, creating a substantial detour. The new design will be able to handle that additional weight.
The bridge on Brand Road was experiencing concrete deterioration, and many residents felt it was unsafe to travel over, Ossenfort said.
He added the new bridges can expect to have a lifespan of more than 75 years.
“Infrastructure is one my highest priorities,” Ossenfort said. “These types of projects are something we hope to see a lot more of.”
Ossenfort called for assistance from the state and federal government to rebuild infrastructure in the county, saying “our needs far outweigh our resources.”
“With infrastructure dollars trending downward, it makes it more difficult for us on the local level,” he said. “While we are getting good things done, we need help so we can fix the bridges in the county.”
Construction on the two bridges began in June and was completed earlier this week. According to Ossenfort, a majority of the 92 bridges in the county were built before 1940, and most are in need of some sort of repair.
Roger Laime, engineering manager for AECOM Technology Corp. — the company that designed the new bridges — commended the county for restoring bridges during what he calls “tough economic times.”
“Infrastructure funds from the federal and state government are decreasing, and we would like to encourage that those funds are increased so that some money can come into Montgomery County for projects like this,” he said.
Montgomery County Public Works Commissioner Paul Clayburn thanked residents for their patience while the bridges were constructed. He said the new bridges will serve the county for many years.
“Infrastructure is very important, and these two bridges will serve the residents of Rural Grove and the county for a long time,” Clayburn said.
Janice Faulkner of Charleston said several decades ago, two men were killed in a car accident while approaching the bridge on Brand Road. She said she is thrilled construction of the new bridge is complete.
“It will be much safer now, and it will make my life a whole lot easier, because a lot of times I was afraid to use the bridge because it seemed so dangerous,” she said. “This seems very sturdy, and it will be very convenient.”
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