The bridge is a one-lane structure with a three-ton weight restriction, according to an application for funding that will be submitted to the Alabama Department of Transportation. School buses and emergency vehicles have not been allowed to cross the bridge for some time.
County bridge inspector Glenn Peek said the bridge was closed Wednesday morning as a result of a recent rating by ALDOT that determined it could no longer support three tons.
The county received the results last week. The bridge was closed immediately after Peek received the confirmation he sought from ALDOT officials on Wednesday.
“As far as I know, it will be closed until it’s replaced,” Peek said.
The commission is seeking funds from the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program to replace Smith Chapel Bridge and Brown’s Bridge and rehabilitate Price’s Bridge on Tutwiler Road.
Peek said the other two bridges are expected to remain open for the foreseeable future.
Commissioner Dan Wright, whose district includes Smith Chapel Bridge, said the bridge is an alternate access to Carbon Hill for residents of Nauvoo, Prospect and Lupton.
He added that it is also an important route for emergency vehicles if the bridge on Nauvoo Road near Carbon Hill High School were to be closed for any reason.
“If both of them were out, the only other way is to get on the interstate and drive from one exit to the other and then come into Carbon Hill. You’re talking about 15 or 20 minutes for an ambulance or fire truck to get around,” Wright said.
Any residents with questions or concerns about the bridge closing are encouraged to call Wright at 522-2004.