By Dixon Hayes
GADSDEN, AL (WBRC) - No one in town argues that the downtown railroad bridge is Gadsden's biggest eyesore and has been for years. That is why they are celebrating Tuesday's action by the city council to award a bid to scrape and repaint the more than 100-year-old structure.
"Yes, we're painting the bridge!" said council member Robert Avery, just after bringing up the item under new business. An Indiana-based firm called Icarus was the low bidder at 300 thousand dollars.
City officials always figured it would be expensive since the project is environmentally sensitive. Not only does the bridge span the Coosa River but the paint added in the 1970s is believed to be full of lead, so the flakes and scrapings have to be captured before they land in the water. But the city was able to get a federal grant to pay that money.
The CSX bridge is located between the Memorial (Broad Street) and Meighan Boulevard bridges in downtown Gadsden. It is so old that there are historic photos depicting the bridge with a steam locomotive coming across. It was also designed to turn sideways on the middle span to accomodate paddlewheeler riverboats, but it is not believed to have done that in more than 75 years.
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