GENEVA COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN)— The long-anticipated replacement of a bridge in the wiregrass may have to wait a little longer.
Federal environmental officials say there’s an “endangered species of mussels” there. And it may keep the reconstruction of “Line Bridge” along the Geneva County-Walton Stateline from happening.
In September 2020, “Hurricane Sally” made landfall around Gulf Shores near the Florida-Alabama line.
The system caused torrential rains in the wiregrass leading to the destruction of three rural, wooden bridges.
For nearly two years now, “Line Bridge” in Western Geneva County has been out of commission.
Despite FEMA recently allocating 1-point-4 million dollars to replace Line and two other bridges with
concrete structures. But now, federal environmentalists want to make sure an “endangered” freshwater mussel is not located here.
Geneva County Engineer, Justin Barfield, says “this happened several years ago on some bridges that were washed out. We had to actually get a consultant on the ground and get in the water and evaluate, no endangered muscles were found. It’s a protocol we face in the past and hopefully, we can get this under and keep working to replace the bridge.”
Mike Gurspan says “Barfield says if it isn’t for one problem, it’s another. Just when he gets the FEMA money to replace line bridge, now this an environmental issue.”
For Barfield, word of a possible “endangered species” in the creek underneath Line bridge is frustrating.
He along with residents near the destroyed bridges has been waiting nearly two years to get them replaced. This “Latest” news continues to “Slow” down that process from ever happening.
Barfield says “This particular bridge location has notified us that it could be home to some endangered mussels and so we have to do further investigations on those.”
As of now, Barfield says an environmental study will be made to determine if the endangered mussels live around the bridge.