By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Representative Mack Butler (R) from Rainbow City announced on Thursday that Southside and Rainbow City residents will get some relief on an important bridge over the Coosa River.
Alabama State Representative Mack Butler announced on Facebook, “Breaking News! We just got out of a very productive meeting with ALDOT, myself, city and county officials along with a representative from Congressman Aderholt’s office. A plan to alleviate the traffic jam each morning on the Old Southside Bridge has been worked out. This will take place ASAP. Coming from Southside the merging of traffic from 2 lanes to one lane will be removed and the single lane bridge will be changed to 2 lanes. An acceleration lane approximately 300 ft long will be added to the Rainbow City side and will allow for traffic to merge into traffic going up the mountain from Whorton Bend Road. This plan should cut the backlog by more than half. Funding for this project is already in place.”
Rep. Mack Butler said that they were not getting a new bridge but instead were changing it to two lanes in the same direction. Butler said, “The old bridge is 20ft wide and can accommodate this for now. It will require federal funds to come up with the 20 million plus to replace the bridge. This will be an improvement for the bottle neck but the main goal is for a replacement bridge in the future.”
Butler explained, “Basically the 2 lanes will be continuous all the way across the bridge and up the mountain with the acceleration lane added on the right approximately 300 ft long to allow the traffic turning right from Whorton Bend to easily enter traffic. Some right of way will have to be acquired.”
Highway 77 is the main artery connecting Rainbow City and Southside (both in Etowah County). It crosses the Coosa River via a bridge. The Highway 77 southbound side has long ago been replaced with a modern e new bridge. The 77 highway northbound bridge is an old steel bridge that is a relic from when Highway 77 was just a two lane road and has long been slated for replacement.
Highway 77 connects the two Etowah County communities. It is also a main gateway to Neely Henry Lake for thousands of tourists.
Mack Butler is in his first term in the Alabama House of Representatives. He was elected in a Special Election in 2012 after Blaine Galliher (R) vacated the seat to accept a job as Legislative Director in the Governor Robert Bentley (R) administration.
Ashville Mayor Robert McKay (R) is challenging Butler in the Republican Primary for the seat which represents parts of Etowah and St. Clair Counties.