Construction Begins On Dolly Parton Bridge

Construction Begins On Dolly Parton Bridge

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You can see the burn marks in the concrete where two semis caught fire the Thursday before Memorial Day. One driver was killed. Now repairs to the bridge will begin.

“The heat of the plastics caused our steel girders to kind of warp a little bit so we have to go in, remove the existing concrete deck that was damaged and do some heat straightening where we'll actually heat the girders and push them back in place,” says Matt Ericksen with the Alabama Department of Transportation.

Folks will only have one more week to travel on the northbound side. Starting next Friday, the southbound lanes will carry both north and southbound traffic. Construction is only supposed to last five weeks and ALDOT officials want to make sure they stick to that deadline.

"The contract time is 25 calendar days. We have put an incentive/disincentive in the contract so if the contractor finishes ahead of schedule he will get bonus pay. If he finishes after schedule and we have more impact on the traveling public, he will get penalties,” says Ericksen.

This is the largest crash in recent memory on the General W. K. Wilson Jr. Bridge, known as the Dolly Parton Bridge. 30,000 cars travel over it daily, so making sure drivers would be safe immediately after the crash was vital.

"We worked around the clock to inspect the damage and see if it was safe for the traveling public. And we opened it back up that following Saturday morning."

The bid for construction went to McInnis Construction LLC. for $2.3 million. They want to remind drivers that through the seven mile stretch where it goes down to one lane, construction speed is only 45 miles an hour, so please exercise caution.

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