Repairs begin nearly two years after tornado

Workers from Shoals Electric begin work on the traffic lights at the intersection of Highways 118 and 43 in downtown Winfield on Monday, Dec. 18.

By Luke Brantley
Staff writer
WINFIELD — The main traffic lights in downtown Winfield are finally being repaired just shy of two weeks before the two-year anniversary of the tornado that destroyed them.  
Shoals Electric began the repairs on Monday morning, Dec. 18.
Work had begun briefly back in October, but workers discovered that one of the brackets on the pole that held the arm which held the lights over the road had originally been installed upside down when the lights were first put up, causing another setback.
Now that the bracket issue has been fixed, work can once again continue, much to the relief of many in the city of Winfield.
The light poles were damaged on Dec. 29, 2021, when an EF1 tornado hit downtown Winfield.
The tornado didn’t cause any injuries or deaths, but dealt a heavy blow to buildings and infrastructure in downtown.
The poles holding the traffic lights were knocked down, and had to be cut to be removed from the intersection.
While the highways that intersect in downtown are both state and U.S. highways, the City of Winfield is responsible for the maintenance of the lights.
The city insured the lights through the Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation.
Mayor Randy Price and other city officials gave updates during city council meetings while awaiting repairs.
According to Price, the insurance company went through a consultant, and then had to hire contractors to handle the repairs, which already took some time before contractors ran into supply and labor shortages, among other issues.
Shoals Electric was finally able to get the repairs set up and scheduled on Monday, while the Alabama Department of Transportation assisted by directing traffic.
The city council recently voted to accept a deal in which ALDOT would provide a new control unit for the traffic lights, in exchange for the city providing some funds for any repairs that might be needed.
“We finally got the other pole in about three or four weeks ago that we were waiting on,” Price said. “The reason they didn’t finish it the last time was because the bracket had been welded on wrong. It had been engineered right, but it was put on the opposite direction.
“Shoal (Electric) finally got it worked out in their schedule where they could show back up and knock it out and finish it today.”
Price said if they didn’t finish up on Monday, they should have been done by yesterday morning.

See complete story in the Journal Record.
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