State Rep. Bill Roberts (R-Jasper) and state Sen. Greg Reed (R-Jasper) made the announcement Monday to members of the Walker County Commission.
“This will take care of this road that desperately needs work,” Roberts said. “It’s a dirt road that many workers go down every day. About a mile and a half of the road is in Walker County, and this funding will take care of that portion of the road.”
Earlier this month, the Board of Directors of the Industrial Access Road and Bridge Corporation met and agreed to commit $796,100 to Walker County to fund improvements to Wallace Ferry/Blackburn Road, which leads into Drummond Company’s Shoal Creek Mine.
Roberts said around $1 million had been given to Tuscaloosa County, which is where the other section of the road is located.
Reed said the funds will allow the county to take money from that road project and use it in other areas.
“This money is specifically for industrial access roadways,” he said. “We spend a lot of time fighting for this kind of funding. There are legislators from every county competing for these funds, and we fight to get it for our area.”
Commission Chairman Billy Luster said he is thankful for the work of area legislators.
“You guys work hard to help our area,” Luster said. “We thank you for all that hard work. I think we all just want to do things to improve Walker County, and we appreciate your help in those efforts.”
According to the agreement, the county will be responsible for preliminary engineering costs, right-of-way and utility costs.
“We are pleased that the Industrial Access Road and Bridge Corporation will be able to fund this worthwhile project,” Transportation Director John Cooper said in a letter to Luster.
One area citizen is hoping county funds saved by the industrial access roads grant money can be used on a closed bridge.
Bonnie Taylor also spoke at Monday’s commission meeting, asking for Lost Creek Bridge in south Walker County to be repaired or replaced. Taylor said the bridge had been closed since 2001.
“I am afraid that lives have already been lost because this bridge has been closed for so long,” Taylor said. “Minutes can save lives in an emergency situation. Because that bridge is closed, it takes so much longer for ambulances to be able to get to certain areas.”
District 3 Commissioner Bobby Nunnelley said he wants to get help for Taylor and other residents in the area.
“I ran for office to help with bridges,” he said. “I know these folks have been asking for this for a long time. I will do what I can to help.”