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The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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City engineer discusses plans for new bridge

Lilly Clark

The city of Florence has set out to reconnect the west and downtown areas after a short-lived bridge built in the 1930s was demolished. 

Florence’s engineering department is exploring the construction of a bridge equipped with bicycle and pedestrian access, according to information available on the Florence city website. The committee over the project gathered public comments through email, phone calls, and physical mail, with the final submission deadline was set for Nov. 29, 2023. As of now, no definitive decisions on dates or design have been reached.

“There used to be a bridge over [Cypress Creek] and it was falling apart,” said Bill Batson, Florence’s City Engineer. “It was demolished 50 or 60 years ago.” 

When the bridge was originally there it served the community members of the West College area. The Department assessed the benefits and ultimately decided that there was a need to have that westside access again. 

Prior to the project’s approval, All Phases Archaeology surveyed the area, aligning with the Environmental Assessment to demonstrate a Finding of No Significant Impact form concerning the project’s environmental implications. The United States Environmental Protection Agency mandates these assessments to safeguard the area from potential environmental effects if the project moves forward according to the EPA’s website

All Phases Archaeology, a private full-service cultural resource management program, or “contract archaeology program,” based in the Alabama Gulf Coast, aims to support projects like this one, as stated on their website.

“They were looking for items that may be typical of an earlier civilization,” said Batson. 

A tentative project timeline targets the commencement of construction in March 2025. According to the schedule, a public hearing is slated for mid-May of this year. Batson said the project has been discussed for several years now. 

Along with a tentative schedule, there is a preliminary plan, showing the bridge to be a long, two-lane design stretching over the creek. The build would start at the intersection of Gunwaleford and Coffee Rd. and end at the split of W Mobile and W College St. No final decisions have been made at this time. 

“A lot of [the project] is coming through us,” said Batson. “I’d say that we are one of the ones that keep track of it, the city council members are trying to stay up to date on it, too.” 

This bridge is set to benefit downtown Florence heavily, as the connection will allow constituents of that location easier access to the area. Before the timeline can be finalized Batson predicts it will have to go through some federal departments along with the Alabama Department of Transportation. 

“[The timeline] is optimistic and I hope it works out this way but there’s been a lot of work going on for this,” said Batson.

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About the Contributors
Trenedy Parks, News Editor
Trenedy Parks is a sophomore from Fayetteville, Tenne. She is working towards a bachelor’s degree in journalism and digital media. She has worked as a staff writer for The Flor-Ala since Aug. 2022, and as News Editor since Aug. 2023. Her goals as a writer are to learn more about Florence and its community and to become more involved with the people of UNA.
Lilly Clark, Staff Photographer
Lilly Clark is a freshman from the town of Killen, Ala. She is majoring in interdisciplinary studies and hopes to pursue her dream job of video editing. She is a staff photographer.

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