Mentone Bridge Update

September 4th, 2006

Many people have been asking what the status of the Mentone bridge is. The following is what I know, if anyone knows more, please contact me and I will post it.

A week after the ALDOT's May 16th presentation in Mentone, the Alabama Historical Commission requested ALDOT do a reassessment of its Environmental Impact Statement. Environmental impact statements are reports that outline the predicted environmental effects of a particular action or project in which the federal government is involved. This is the first thing a government agency conducts when proposing a new project and ALDOT had considered its complete. The Historical Commission requested this reassessment due to numerous errors found in the existing report their May 16th presentation was based from.

A particularly harmful mistake is the wrongful date of origin of the McDorman family home. ALDOT lists it as being built in 1970. The McDorman family home was actually built in 1920. On at least two occasions in the previous year, members of the McDorman family spoke with Division 1 Pre-Construction Engineer , Curtis Vincent, and Environmental Coordinator, Alfeda Acoff, about the four generations of McDormans family history in Mentone. According to my sources, this information never made it into the environmental report. This is important because, when a structure dates back at least 50 years it is supposed to have an automatic historical evaluation. Again, this is the first task ALDOT is supposed to complete before moving to the design phase. Because of this oversight, the bridge project will take at least an additional year.

The Lookout Mountain Heritage Alliance and a number of Mentone residents, businesses, and visitors have been lobbying ALDOT to widen the existing bridge and straighten the curve. ALDOT has not commented if they will investigate this. Infrastructure Composites Internation, an engineering firm who specializes in bridge widening , evaluated the Mentone bridge and prepared a presentation on how the bridge may be widened. ALDOT refused to allow their presentation and material into the May 16th public meeting.

An update on Mentone's July 4th sign ban:

Since July 4 th , Mayor Robb Hammond has removed an additional 18 signs. Most of these signs have been on private property and out of the public right of way. None of these signs have been returned and no property owners have been contacted. To date a total of 18 signs have been confiscated.

Slate McDorman