Collapsed Jefferson County Bridge to be Rebuilt


By Matthew Searcy

WOODLAWN -- Drivers in Woodlawn have been dealing with detours for months after the bridge on Panzier Lane collapsed last September. Jefferson County leaders say that will soon change.

The county will begin receiving bids for the project in August, with construction set to begin in September. 
"We are doing everything we can to get this thing built as quickly as possible," explained Jefferson County highway engineer Brandon Simmons, "I think everybody needs to understand that designing a bridge this size takes 6 to 9 months."
Eighty percent of the funding for the project comes from federal money. The county will pay the remaining balance, which is expected to cost just over $100,000. 
"The highway department has been planning for this expense for quite some time," said Jefferson County treasurer Dan Knox. "The operation of the county, the operation of the highway department should not be impacted."
The county budget may not be negatively impacted, but local travelers are. Panzier Lane is a busy route for many Woodlawn residents, including area farmers. About 300 vehicles used the road everyday, and detours around the bridge have increased travel time by up to 15 minutes.  
"It's been a real headache for all the people out there," said Simmons. "It's a pretty good detour to get around. It's a major structure on a pretty major route." 
Simmons says the county will do all it can to complete the rebuild before the end of the construction season.
"There is potential for it to get done this year and there will be some incentive for the contractors to get this job completed," he explained.
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