The Sewell Road bridge across the Little River might not look like a big deal, but looks can be deceiving.
Although it’s short, narrow and simple in appearance, the bridge is the first of its kind in Newton County, County Commission Chairman Keith Ellis said Tuesday, the day the bridge reopened to traffic nine months after the state declared it unsafe.
The bridge was built mostly by the county’s Public Works Department, and Ellis couldn’t be prouder of their efforts.
Workers poured the supports, laid down rip-rap, and set in place a pre-fabricated steel base that a contracted crane lowered from the Morgan County side of the river.
“All of those people who have grown up going to (the Sewell Methodist Church in Morgan County) have had to go into Morgan County, potentially on a roundabout way through Rutledge, to get to their church” for nine months, Ellis said.
The bridge’s frame cost $38,000 and was built at the public works facility near Covington. After its completion, it was escorted by sheriff’s deputies along highways in Newton and Morgan counties to its new location.
The public works department hadn’t done “anything close to this magnitude and they were very successful,” Ellis said.
“Newton County’s public works, I’m very proud of them.”
The bridge has a wooden surface, but its underlying steel supports mean it should have no weight limit, Ellis said. It’s open to fire trucks and school buses – which can’t be said of the original bridge.