WINSTON COUNTY - A project in the planning stages for years is finally coming to fruition, with work now visible along the iconic Duncan Bridge at the border of Winston and Walker counties.
A note of major celebration in Winston County in recent years has been the Alabama Department of Transportation taking over maintenance and upkeep of the bridge. This means the ongoing $5 million+ renovation of the bridge is saving the county that much money, according to State Representative Tim Wadsworth, who has worked to help spearhead the project with other state legislators.
“It’s a great project that is being paid for by the state,” Wadsworth emphasized. “We have done a lot to save money for Winston County by doing this project.
“It is saving them not just this project, but also yearly inspections that have to be done,” Wadsworth continued. “At the end of the day, the preservation of Duncan Bridge will help and support Winston County for years to come.”
The contract work is being done by Omega Coatings & Construction LLC, which was the lowest of three bidders at $5,561,225 on the project that will rehabilitate the iconic bridge, according to ALDOT.
The bridge will receive steel and concrete repairs, a steel bridge coating, deck sealing, navigational lights and other work to improve the quality of the bridge, which crosses Highway 257 over Smith Lake at the Winston-Walker County line.
Once completed, the bridge will also have a new paint job that will match the original color as closely as possible, according to ALDOT.
“This area of the Walker County line was County Road 41,” Wadsworth stated. “It was a state highway in Walker County, state Highway 257, and when you touch the Winston County line it was a county road all the way through Winston County.”
As part of the agreement with ALDOT, the state highway was extended from the Walker County line to about an eighth of a mile on the Winston County side of Duncan Bridge, Wadsworth explained.
“We were originally looking at making it a state road all the way through Addison,” Wadsworth noted. “But there were 70 buildings, obstacles that would have had to be removed because the easement is wider on a state highway.”
County road right-of way or easements is 80 feet compared to state right-of-way easements running anywhere from 120 to 150 feet, officials said.
The contractor in charge of the project will be required to keep one lane of the bridge open throughout the work, except during the bridge jacking process, which may stop traffic for a maximum of 45 minutes, officials said.
Currently, motorists approaching the bridge from either direction are required to stop at a makeshift traffic light that has been set up on the side of 257/41. Motorists should watch for this signal and be sure to stop when the signal turns red. Once the signal turns green, they can travel on one lane across the bridge.
ALDOT plans to notify the public 24 hours before the bridge jacking process begins in order to give motorists the option to take a different route.
“Generally (the stop) is about two minutes at the red light,” Wadsworth noted.
However, once motorists pass into Walker County, they may have to wait at the traffic light up to five minutes, due to paving work on Highway 257, state officials said.
ALDOT expects the work on Duncan Bridge to be complete by summer, 2024.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.