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Bridge safety system in 5-year plan

By M.J. Ellington · (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — A de-icing system for the Interstate 65 bridges over the Tennessee River in Decatur has not been frozen out of the state’s five-year transportation plan.

Also still in is a weather-monitoring and warning system with caution lights that warn of possible icy conditions on the bridges.

Weeks ago, a transportation official cautioned that the cost for the de-icing system might price the project out of the budget.

But the latest draft of the state’s 2008-12 plan for transportation includes both projects. Alabama Department of Transportation Division I Engineer Johnny Harris cautioned area leaders at a July Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting the de-icing system’s cost could scrap the project

“Those are dangerous, dangerous bridges when it is icy. We need that system,” said Rep. Bill Dukes, D-Decatur.

Current state plans call for the $2.5 million de-icing system installation to begin in September 2009.

The plan calls for work on the $2.6 million weather-monitoring and warning system to begin in November 2009.

Dukes, Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, and Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, all looked at area projects on the state plan with hope that years of work by a lot of people would pay off.

“A lot of people, including Bud Cramer (D-Huntsville) and other members of Congress, the legislative delegation and a lot of community leaders have put a lot of work into making these projects happen,” Hammon said.

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