The Bridges of Winston County

Most bridges on Highway 278 were built in 1958 when the road itself was built, unlike this bridge built two years later. It crosses Sipsey Fork in Lakeshore. Shown on the bridge is a “snooper” truck with inspectors.

WINSTON COUNTY - Did you think about that bridge you crossed today? Have you ever thought of what goes into keeping the bridge up?
Through time, there have been many types of bridges in Winston County. Today, there are 38 culverts and 39 bridges listed in the National Bridge Inventory in varying conditions from good to poor, as reported by the NBI. They range in age from 87 years old (1932) to seven years old (2012). These bridges are inspected by engineers with the Winston County Road Department.
The oldest bridge currently in use crosses Airport Road in Haleyville and services Quarter Creek Branch. Reported in fair condition by the NBI, the bridge itself is reminiscent of times past and is an architectural masonry
masterpiece of cemented rock and concrete. The material bridges are most made of locally include concrete, steel and wood. Duncan Bridge on County Road 41 is known as a truss bridge.
“Every bridge within the county opened to traffic has to be inspected once every 24 months, some more than that,” Winston County Engineer James Glasgow said. “We have to grade every element of the bridge.”
There are three parts of the bridge the inspector must examine: the deck, superstructure and substructure. The deck is the flat surface of the bridge. Superstructure is defined as, “the portion of the structure that is the span and directly receives the live load.” Substructures are like the piers.
“On certain bridges the superstructure and the deck are considered one element, but in most cases the deck is held up by the superstructure,” Glasgow said.
As far as the condition of the bridge, damaged timbers, spalls or breaks, cracks and the material or debris on the surface of the bridge are looked at. If repairs need to be made, a work order is put in.


See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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