Alabama DOT Engineer Outlines Area’s Highway Projects

Tue December 19, 2006 - Southeast Edition
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There are several good highway projects proposed for the next few years for the Huntsville-North Alabama area, said Johnny Harris, division engineer of the Alabama Department of Transportation.

Harris outlined the projects in a speech to the Alabama AGC’s Huntsville Section meeting in September at the Huntsville Country Club.

Memphis-Huntsville-Atlanta Corridor

A congressionally designated high-priority route will be built to interstate standards from Mississippi across north Alabama to Georgia. The corridor study is complete and preliminary design has been authorized. Two engineering consultants have been chosen for preliminary engineering and design on two segments of the overall route within the first division. Arcadis has been selected to perform surveys and environmental work for the segment from U.S. 231 in Huntsville to U.S. 431 at New Hope. Volkert and Associates has been selected to perform surveys and environmental from SR 75 in Marshall County to U.S. 11 in Dekalb County.

Huntsville Southern Bypass

A stand-alone project that will become a part of the Memphis-Atlanta Route when completed. Its estimated cost is $455 million. The environmental document is under re-evaluation. Final design plans will be completed once the environmental re-evaluation is completed. There will be three phases to the project: phase 1 is from Martin Road to I-565, phase 2 is from Martin Road south to Weatherly Road Extension and phase 3 will be from Martin Road Extension south to Hobbs Island Road.

There are some environmental issues on the Redstone Arsenal that must be addressed before the design work can proceed. The department is working to resolve these with the Arsenal.

Memorial Parkway

The service road project from north of Oakwood to north of Sparkman Drive has been completed and traffic has been moved onto the newly constructed service roads. PBS&J is working on completing the mainline project plans. The division has requested this project be placed in fiscal year 2008 of the proposed Five Year Plan.

The southern service road project at Whitesburg/ Weatherly has just been completed. DMJM/Harris is performing design on the mainline project. The division has requested that the mainline project be placed in fiscal year 2007 of the proposed five-year plan. Both these projects are being prioritized for funding in the department’s five-year plan now under review.

There also are projects under design to add service roads and overpasses on the parkway at Mastin Lake Road and between Whitesburg Drive and Martin Road.

State Road 53

Four-laning State Road 53 from Huntsville to Ardmore. The first project from Mastin Lake to north of State Road 255 was let to contract Jan. 13, 2006. The low bidder was Reed Contracting Services at $4.9 million. Work is approximately 35 percent complete and should be finished by January 2008. The second phase of State Road 53 from north of State Road 255 to north of Jeff Road is in the right of way acquisition phase. Volkert is completing the design. The third phase is from north of Jeff Road to north of Harvest Road. Right of way is being acquired on this segment also. Volkert is completing the plans. The fourth project is the Ardmore Bypass on the south side of Ardmore to I-65. Florence and Hutcheson has completed the field survey and has begun design work.

“Again, all these will be prioritized for funding in the department’s five-year plan currently under review,” Harris said. “However, we are looking at progressing south to north on the route until we can tie to the bypass around Ardmore.”

U.S. 72 Interchange at Moore’s Mill Road and Shields Road

Preliminary design is under way to construct interchanges with overpasses on U.S. 72 E at Moore’s Mill Road and Shields Road. This will be a split diamond configuration with one way service roads between Moore’s Mill and Shields.

“The Parkway, State Road 53 and U.S. 72 projects have combined estimated construction costs in excess of $75 million which we expect to be funded from the current Transportation Bill,” Harris said.

He said the first division has 32 projects under construction with a value of $149 million. The federal government — the single largest source of funding for highway work — is in the midst of the largest surface transportation investment in history, at $244.1 billion.

“Of this amount, Alabama’s portion over the next four years will range from approximately $695 million to $766 million in fiscal year 2009, which is about $3 billion for the rest of the bill’s life” Harris said.

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