The bridge that spans Little River Canyon on Highway 35  is about to be replaced.

According to Alabama Department of Transportation Division 1 Engineer Johnny Harris, construction is expected to begin in early 2009.

Harris said the bridge is not unsafe, but that it simply doesn’t meet today’s standards for traffic and modern vehicles, adding that bridges have sufficiency ratings from 1 – 100, and that the rating of that particular bridge is 32.2, making it eligible for replacement.

A rating of 50 or less normally falls into that category, with projected costs also being a consideration.

The Department implements a program that evaluates bridges every two years.

Harris stated that a new bridge will be constructed parallel to the one currently in use, and the roadway will be re-aligned to the new bridge.

Harris went on to say that any bridge replacement over a stream or river is considered a major project and is expected to take about two years to complete, costing between six and seven million dollars.

The funds to replace the bridge will come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund.