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Alabama Gov. Ivey Unveils $112M in Major Road Expansions for Huntsville Area

Wed April 20, 2022 - Southeast Edition
WHNT News 19 & Yellowhammer News

During a visit to Huntsville April 14, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that three major infrastructure projects are in store for north Alabama, totaling $112 million. Each one involves roadway expansion in Madison County.

The governor addressed the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce at the Von Braun Center, where she unveiled the much-needed highway additions.

Yellowhammer News reported that Ivey recently met with Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Madison Mayor Paul Finley, Madison County Commission Chair Dale Strong, and the area legislative delegation to talk about local infrastructure needs.

"We discussed this great progress we've made as well as some other projects that are needed in this area," said Ivey. "And let me just tell you, your local elected leadership officials can give a strong pitch. So today I am thrilled to announce not just one, but three major projects for the area."

The new projects include:

  • Two new lanes of Interstate 565, along a 4.2-mi. stretch of freeway from County Line Road to Wall Triana Parkway, south of the town of Madison. The $11.7 million contract will add one lane in each direction.
  • Ivey also made public that Alabama Highway 53 is to be widened with more lanes, each just under a mile long, from Taurus Drive to Harvest Road. Tony Harris with the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) told Huntsville's WHNT News 19 that construction on AL 53 is scheduled to begin in late 2022 at a cost of $50 million.
  • The state's agenda includes the widening and resurfacing of U.S. Highway 72 West from the Providence Main intersection to just west of Nance Road, a project that also is expected to be built for $50 million.

Harris noted that construction on the 2.5-mi. portion of U.S. 72 began the week of April 18 with the bridge over Indian Creek. Along the way, crews will expand the current four-lane divided highway into a six-lane freeway with fewer access points and median crossovers, according to ALDOT. The project also will modify several intersections along the route.

According to WHNT News 19, Rep. Andy Whitt of Alabama's District 6, said the announcement to widen the nearby AL Highway 53 has been a topic of discussion for decades.

"I am appreciative of Gov. Ivey's renewed commitment on tackling this issue and getting the project back online," he explained. "There is more work to be done, but this is certainly a step in the right direction."

Expansions Should Benefit All of North Alabama

The city and Madison County Commission partnered to provide a 40 percent match to the state's 60 percent pledge in funding for the projects, reported Yellowhammer News.

Another source of funding for the roadwork comes from the Rebuild Alabama Act, passed by state lawmaker, and signed into law by Ivey in 2019. The move raised Alabama's gas tax 10 cents over a three-year period to help fund road projects. The final increase took effect this past October, upping the tax from 18 cents per gallon in 2019 to 28 cents per gallon; diesel fuel jumped from 19 cents to 29. Prior to that, the tax had not changed since 1992.

"I am proud to partner with Gov. Ivey, Mayor Battle, and Mayor Finley to build new roads that will help commuters from across North Alabama," said Strong, the chair of the Madison County Commission. "These major arteries carry commuters from a 17-county region that travel here every day. This is another example of how we can do big things when we work together as a region."

Battle added, "To be a growing, prosperous city you have to have a transportation grid that supports the needs of your workforce. These three major projects are a strong start in accomplishing [Huntsville's Restore Our Roads, or ROR2] plan to keep metro Huntsville thriving and provide a high quality of life."

In her remarks, Ivey also asserted that state Sen. Tom Butler (R-Madison) had been a "strong advocate" for the expansion of U.S. 72.

Butler, in turn, thanked Ivey in a statement for her commitment to addressing the area's infrastructure needs, adding, "The economic development and growth in Alabama's 2nd District are booming with the U.S. Space Command, FBI relocation, Mazda Toyota manufacturing plant and many more ventures bringing thousands of jobs to the area."

In his own press release, Strong spoke to the partnership among elected leadership that was formed to bring about infrastructure enhancement for the residents of the Tennessee Valley.

"I am proud to partner with Gov. Ivey, Mayor Battle and Mayor Finley to build new roads that will help commuters from across North Alabama," he said.

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