Locust Fork River project nearing completion

The Locust Fork River Scenic Overlook turns the old U.S. 231 Bridge into a pedestrian bridge and allows for increased river access. (abc3340.com)

A few years ago, the old U.S. 231 bridge between Blountsville and Cleveland was scheduled to have a date with the wrecking ball. However, Blount County officials wanted to do whatever they could to protect access to the river for its citizens and tourists. They worked with the Alabama Department of Transportation to see if the bridge would be left standing, but the county would assume maintenance of it.

In 2016, the county received a $400,000 alternative program grant. It allowed the county to convert the bridge into a pedestrian bridge, create a scenic overlook, and allow better access to kayakers and canoers. Work continues to be done.

County Administrator John Bullard says tourism is one of the focuses of the county's strategic plan, but says it is one of their underdeveloped resources.

"By taking the first step to put some money into this, invest in tourism, we feel that this will be kind of a launchpad for the other areas and attractions here in Blount County," Bullard said.

"We are showing the community what can be done and what the possibilities are," Green said. "I think we as local people are taking a more can-do attitude all the time and not just looking at the obstacles of making something good happen. I hope this is the start of other locations along the river where people will be able to get a good access to put in their canoe and take it out at another location. It is just another piece of the puzzle of our economic development and tourism being a big piece of that puzzle. We have tried to accentuate a lot of natural attractions here in the county."

The project is set to be completed just after the first of the new year.

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