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Bridge work begins this week

Many residents on Underwood Road in Russellville will have to use an alternative route in the coming weeks due to a bridge-widening project, officials said.
Franklin County Highway Engineer David Palmer said starting Monday, March 25, Underwood Road just east of Marshall Drive would be closed so the bridge near JoAnn Avenue could be widened.
Palmer said all residents living east of Marshall Drive on Underwood Road would need to use Franklin 48 in order to avoid the construction.
He said the construction should last no more than three weeks.
“I realize this will be inconvenient for those residents who will have to be detoured for several weeks, but this is better than us having to replace the bridge altogether, which could have taken six months,” Palmer said.
“This was just a project that needed to happen to make the bridge safer for residents who have to travel over it and the city is trying to get it taken care of in the least amount of time and in the most economical way possible.”
Palmer said the project is costing the city $39,000 for the simple widening as opposed to a $250,000 cost if the bridge had to be replaced completely.
Palmer said it was also a necessary project that needed to take place before the city applied for ATRIP funding to hopefully have Underwood Road resurfaced.
Palmer said city officials hoped to apply for that grant funding soon.
“The bridge would have needed to be widened before any resurfacing took place anyway, so we’re just being proactive and getting it taken care of now.”
Mayor David Grissom said the project would make the road safer to travel once finished.
“There will be some inconvenience for a few weeks, but we have tried to schedule this at a time when we hope it will have a smaller impact on people’s daily travels, especially since school will be out for spring break during one week,” Grissom said.
“But, we feel the residents out there will be relieved when it’s complete and the bridge is much safer to travel across. Councilman Gary Cummings has been working hard for the past several years to make sure the residents in this part of town have safe, passable roads to travel on and this is a big step in making that happen.”