This is an opinion piece.

Friday afternoon, the Alabama Department of Transportation closed the bridge on Alabama Highway 168 at Double Bridges and began detouring traffic between Kilpatrick and Boaz.

Two years ago, the department approved a project to replace the bridge over Short Creek, which was built in 1948. I’m certain my mother told me her brothers R.C. and Kermit Hammonds helped build the bridge 73 years ago.

Seth Burkett is the north region public information officer for the Alabama Department of Transportation. He said the $3.5 million project with Bridge Builders of Alabama will replace the old bridge with a longer, wider and safer bridge.

Mr. Burkett said the project is anticipated to take about a year, and I hope the weather and all other factors cooperate so it can be done in that time span or less. In the meantime, I urge all drivers to use extra caution and maybe leave early if your daily commute is impacted by the bridge closure.

No doubt, the closure is going to create more traffic on McVille Road, Blessing Road, DeKalb County Road 26, Double Bridges Road, Beulah Road, Alabama Highway 68, Alabama 75 and U.S. 431 South from Albertville to Boaz.

Due to the detour, the intersection of Alabama Highways 68 and 75, along with Hustleville Road at Cochran’s Corner north of Albertville, could prove to be especially hazardous. All of us driving on Alabama 75 who pass through that intersection on a regular basis need to be sure we slow down and not get distracted.

I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but the enormous amount of daily traffic between Kilpatrick and Boaz is going to have to find another route over the next year. For sure, there are going to be some headaches for travelers.

Way to go, Sawyer

Sawyer Hulgan is a member of our youth group at Liberty Baptist Church in the Painter community. She’s the daughter of Brett and Jessica Hulgan. Brett serves as a deacon at Liberty.

Brett and Jessica were standout multi-sport athletes at Crossville High School, but neither of them made a varsity team as a seventh-grader like Sawyer, who scored 17 points and hit four 3-pointers in Class 3A Plainview’s season-opening 63-55 win over 7A Huntsville on Tuesday night at Rainsville.

On Thursday, Sawyer finished with 11 points and three 3s in a 59-41 triumph over 7A Austin at Decatur.

Congratulations to Sawyer on the awesome start to her first varsity season. I’m excited to see what the future holds for her basketball career.          

Shannon J. Allen is publisher for The Reporter. He can be reached at shannon.allen@sandmountainreporter.com.

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