By Mrs. Jennifer Bacchus (AMC)May 30, 2019
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- After more than three years, transfer trucks laden with parts, equipment or other items, will soon be able to cross the bridge at Anniston Army Depot's main gate.
On April 8, 2016, all traffic of more than 26 tons was routed through Eulaton Gate, instead of Anniston Army Depot's main gate.
This was due to an evaluation of the bridge's load capacity, which determined the bridge had a weight limit of 13 to 27 tons, depending upon the configuration of the vehicle.
"It was built for the traffic of the time," said Jason Wynn, a civil engineer for the depot.
The Army Corps of Engineers coordinated the construction of a new bridge, built to Alabama Department of Transportation specifications for heavy traffic, approximately 10 feet to the west of the existing bridge.
"The new bridge is designed so a M1 tank can go over it," said Wynn. "If a vehicle can drive on the interstate, it can drive over that bridge."
Construction of the new bridge began in February 2018 and traffic is expected to begin flowing over it June 10.
In addition to being rated to handle larger and heavier traffic, the new bridge is significantly wider than the old, with a 10-foot safety lane on each side and a sidewalk.
A fence, which curves up over the vehicle traffic, was a requirement from Norfolk Southern, which owns the rail line the bridge passes over.
The former bridge was constructed in 1941, at the time the Anniston Ordnance Depot was being built. It was given to the depot by the state of Alabama in 2010.
The load determination for the bridge came as a result of a biannual bridge inspection, which recommended all bridges receive posted load limits.
Due to the age of the bridge, little was known of its construction. The depot contracted with a bridge specialist in early 2016 to determine the load limit.
The old bridge will be demolished and removed later this year. Demolition plans are being coordinated with Norfolk Southern and will likely involve removal in sections via crane, to prevent debris falling to the rail line.