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Alabama Governor Reveals $500M Building Plan Along Trio of Interstate Highways

Tue September 12, 2023 - Southeast Edition
Associated Press & Office of Gov. Kay Ivey

Gov. Kay Ivey announced three major interstate projects totaling approximately a half a billion dollars during a recent press event. (Office of the Governor photo)
Gov. Kay Ivey announced three major interstate projects totaling approximately a half a billion dollars during a recent press event. (Office of the Governor photo)

During an Aug. 31 news conference in Hoover, Ala., Gov. Kay Ivey announced three major interstate construction projects in the greater Birmingham area with a total price tag of approximately $500 million.

Ivey unveiled the trio of major construction efforts at Hoover City Hall to a gathering of local officials from Shelby and Jefferson counties, as well as state senators and representatives, federal officials and economic development officials, among others.

"It was exciting to think about this announcement as I drove up Interstate 65 this morning, seeing the progress we are making around Clanton and the progress we have already made around Alabaster," she said. "We are all familiar with the phrase ‘no man left behind.' Well, Rebuild Alabama seeks to ensure we have no road, bridge or area of our state left behind. Improving Alabama's infrastructure is one of my top priorities as governor."

The largest of the three efforts will be the widening of I-65 from Alabaster to Calera, which runs from Exit 238 to Exit 231 south of Birmingham. The project includes six bridges over railroad tracks and two across Jefferson County Road 26.

With an estimated cost of about $300 million, the work will be broken into three phases that will eventually be under construction all at once, Ivey's office noted in a news release. Helping to pitch in on paying for the construction are the Shelby County Commission, the cities of Alabaster and Calera, and 58 Inc., part of the Shelby County Economic Development Corp.

Together, they are providing a total of $20 million in local matching funds, with the remaining funds coming from the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT).

The widening of I-65, which runs from the Tennessee-Alabama state line south to Mobile, has also emerged as a political issue, according to an Associated Press report. Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth said the state should make it a priority to widen the entirety of I-65 to six lanes.

The overall initiative's second largest project is the construction of a new interchange to connect I-459 to Ala. Highway 150 and South Shades Crest Road in Hoover, which is leading the effort to build the junction at a cost of $120 million. The new interchange will be located about a mile from the current Exit 10 on I-459.

The third and final road project calls for widening I-59 from I-459 to Chalkville Mountain Road, a distance of about 4 mi. When finished, it will provide additional capacity in this traditionally congested area and accommodate future traffic volumes including those generated by the Birmingham Northern Beltline. It will be built at an estimated cost of approximately $80 million in ALDOT funds.

Highway Investments Part of Rebuild Alabama Act

Ivey concluded her remarks during the announcement in Hoover by recognizing the diligent teamwork of local, state, and federal officials to prioritize the objectives of the Rebuild Alabama Act, her legislative plan to comprehensively address the state's pressing infrastructure issues.

"We have been working a long time to make these announcements possible — projects totaling about a half a billion dollars," she said. "These are wise investments to Rebuild Alabama, and I am proud to get dirt churning on these all within the year."

Since becoming Alabama's governor in 2017, Ivey has made transportation infrastructure a top priority, tackling the state's previously stagnant roadway progress by renewing investments in infrastructure statewide.

The best example of that commitment came in 2019 when she signed into law the historic Rebuild Alabama Act. Championing more than $170 million dollars in state transportation funding, 400 mi. of resurfaced roadways, and 234 new road and bridge projects across all 67 counties in Alabama, the initiative has proven to be a sound investment in public safety, economic development, and the overall progress and prosperity the state.

Under Ivey's leadership, more than 1,500 road and bridge projects worth $5 billion have been built or upgraded across Alabama.

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