Grant's Mill Road bridge

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The Grant's Mill Road bridge, also called the Irondale Bridge, was originally built in 1935 as a 110-foot long two-lane bridge for Grant's Mill Road over Lake Purdy. The bridge was designed for a maximum vehicle weight of 6,000 pounds. It was closed to traffic in 2009 and was replaced by a modern structure in 2011.

Weight limits

An emergency bridge inspection on June 7, 2002 discovered some areas of severe corrosion and resulted in a recommendation to schedule monthly re-inspections and to strictly enforce weight limits. Those limits require fire trucks from the Cahaba Valley Fire Department to detour around the lake to reach the Zeigler Road area.

In order to help enforce limits on trucks using the bridge, the city of Birmingham installed PVC "headache bars" at each end of the bridge in 2003. These were replaced with orange barrels in September 2007, in concert with more active police supervision of the bridge's approach. A month later 1" thick steel tubes weighing 200 to 300 pounds were installed in place of the barrels as a "last-ditch effort" to avoid having to close the bridge. Mayor Bernard Kincaid threatened to close the bridge unless haulers paid heed to the warnings. In December 2009 acting mayor Roderick Royal ordered the bridge closed pending implementation of a better means of controlling misuse.


Replacing the corroded steel deck was expected to cost as much as $700,000. Though the superstructure had corroded, the bridge's concrete piers were judged to be in good shape. In April 2008 Shelby County and Jefferson County jointly offered to provide crews to replace the bridge deck if the City of Birmingham provided the materials, which were estimated at approximately $110,000. In December 2009 the city agreed to the deal and began soliciting proposals for a prefabricated steel bridge deck. Construction was expected to begin in the Spring of 2010. By the end of Summer, engineering work was still being completed and the city had budgeted $947,000 from federal recovery zone bonds for the work.

In July 2010 Mayor William Bell announced a $4 million proposal from Strada Materials, a Birmingham-based aggregate supplier, to replace the bridge with a wider roadway and add lighting in exchange for permission to collect a toll. Bell supported the idea because it required no capital funding from Birmingham and because the bridge mainly serves residents outside the city limits. Kim Rafferty and Roderick Royal opposed the toll-bridge proposal in favor of the budgeted plan.

in January 2011 a $1.06 million contract was awarded to Bob Smith Construction of Trussville to rebuild the bridge over a six-to-eight-week period. The project included widening the street from 18 to 24 feet, creating two 12-foot travel lanes. It was reopened to traffic on September 6.


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  • MacDonald, Ginny (August 31, 2007) "Kincaid threatens to close bridge." Birmingham News
  • MacDonald, Ginny (October 13, 2007) "'Super headache bars' up on Grants Mill Road bridge." Birmingham News
  • MacDonald, Ginny (April 3, 2008) "Jefferson and Shelby counties offer Birmingham help to replace Grants Mill Road bridge." Birmingham News
  • MacDonald, Ginny (December 9, 2009) "Alabama officials say keep Lake Purdy bridge closed." Birmingham News
  • MacDonald, Ginny (December 31, 2009) "Birmingham, counties to replace Grants Mill Road Bridge." Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (August 2, 2010) "Birmingham City Council vote to address Grants Mill Road bridge toll plan." Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (January 11, 2011) "Birmingham City Council to vote on Grants Mill Road bridge replacement." Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (September 5, 2011) "Bridge on Grants Mill Road will open after 1 1/2 years of detours." Birmingham News