NATURAL BRIDGE - A pile of logs remains near the guard rail off Highway 278 at a railroad overpass, as a reminder of how difficult it has been for trucks hauling freight, logs or mobile home toters to go under the trestle without losing freight or making costly detours.
A recently announced project, which will lower Highway 278 under the overpass by three feet, will also improve motorist safety as well as provide a major economic impact, thanks to $2 million allocated by the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement II program.
The ATRIP-II program, established under the Rebuild Alabama Act, was established as a way to get much needed funding for road and bridge projects.
The actual project cost of $2,207,360.85 will require a 10 percent match at $207,360.85, which will be covered by the county commission, with the match amount based on the actual cost of the project, according to District 2 Commissioner David Cummings.
“We have worked hard on this project, trying to get it for the last several years,” Cummings said. “We finally got it.”
Since the project involves a state highway, the Alabama Department of Transportation will bid out the project, with a contractor doing the work, county officials pointed out.
The railroad overpass will remain at its current elevation, with the difference being the lowering of Highway 278 in that area approximately three feet in the west bound lanes, noted Winston County Road Engineer James Glasgow.
“It will not be a dip. You will not be able to feel it,” he added. “It will be a long slow grade down.”
These changes will apply only to the west bound lanes of 278 at the overpass, since the railroad overpass is actually at a higher elevation for the east bound lanes of 278, he added.
“Not only will it help keep traffic off a road that doesn’t need all the truck traffic, it will also help the mobile home industry cut down on cost,” added Assistant Road Engineer Matt Rouse.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.