Daviston area residents will soon have a shelter to weather the biggest of tornadoes.
Contractors are putting the finishing touches on the Safe-T-Shelter this week. According to Tallapoosa County EMA director Jason Moran the project has been in the works for a while.
“We’ve have been working on this for more than a year,” Moran said. “It’s good to finally see it in place.”
In April, crews with Safe-T-Shelter installed a massive 12-inch thick slab with a 24- to 26-inch thick footing in a monolithic pour. Officials with the company say the shelter can withstand an EF5 tornado.
Wednesday contractors returned to set the rest of the shelter in place and will finish by Friday afternoon. The all-steel shelter was lowered into place on the slab by a 70-ton crane and 58 bolts will anchor it in place. Officials say each bolt can hold 17,000 pounds thanks to the two-part epoxy used in the installation process.
Moran said the shelter has a rated capacity of 89 and most of the funding comes from a federal grant.
“The total cost of the project is $108,352,” Moran said. “Seventy-five percent of the funding is federal and 25 percent is local funds.”
The local funds came from discretionary spending of Tallapoosa County commissioner John McKelvey.
The shelter includes a generator and chemical toilets.
According to Moran, the money for the Daviston shelter came about through mitigation funding from the December 2015 flooding. He also said inspections for the shelter fall under the state fire marshal and the Alabama Manufactured Housing Commission.
There are two other shelters in Tallapoosa County sitting side by side in Tallassee just behind city hall.
Moran hopes more community storm shelters will be built in the future, especially as increased tornadic activity in Alabama in the last few months has led to more people registering for Tallapoosa Alert, the recommended system in Tallapoosa County to receive alerts via phone, text and email about weather watches and warnings.
“The response has been remarkable lately,” Moran said. “I want to thank everyone for registering for Tallapoosa Alert and making a safety plan that includes multiple ways to get alerts.”