By Sarrah Peters
The city of Glencoe held a ribbon cutting on Wednesday, May 25 to open the new Pineview Avenue bridge.
“It was a safety issue,” said Glencoe Mayor Charles C. Gilchrist. “It was an unsafe bridge. They had downgraded [the bridge] to three tons. School busses couldn’t cross it. Dump trucks couldn’t cross it. The bridge was just falling apart.”
The bridge was also too narrow to allow cars to pass in both directions. To cross, one side of traffic had to stop to let the other pass.
The condition of the bridge was particularly concerning to Glencoe officials due to its proximity to Coosa Valley Healthcare, The George Wallace Senior Center, Glencoe High School softball and baseball fields, the city park walking trail and a number of senior apartments.
The work began in the fall of last year with the pre-construction meeting in August. The total bridge replacement cost almost $624,000 after utilities. About two-thirds of the cost was covered by an ATRIP grant, which is an Alabama Department of Transportation administered federal aid highway program that funds up to 80 percent of the construction of important roadway projects. The City of Glencoe only had to fund just over $214,000 to complete the project.
“The Lord told me He would bless what we put our hand to, it’s in the Bible,” said Gilchrist. “This is really a blessing because now it is a safety issue that has been corrected.”
Mayor Gilchrist was honored by the city councilmen, with the surprise of having the bridge named in his honor. The bridge’s new signs read “Mayor Charles C. Gilchrist Veterans’ Bridge.”
“People will enjoy this structure longer than our lifetrimes,” said ALDOT Director John Cooper, at the Wednesday ceremony.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Gilchrist thanked ALDOT Director John Cooper, Senator Phil Williams, State Representative Mack Butler, State Representative Craig Ford, Etowah County Commissioners Joey Statum and Tim Choate, Congressman Robert Aderholt, Glencoe City Council and city officials.