A $450,000 U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) grant was awarded to the Southeast Alabama Regional Planning & Development Commission to fund a technical and feasibility study of two Wiregrass Region highway projects.
Alabama's Wiregrass Region is named for the warm-season grass that dominates other wild grasses in the area. It also includes parts of the Florida Panhandle and southern Georgia.
The monies for the proposed highway work come from the Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program.
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama announced Sept. 10 the awarding of the pair of BUILD grants to fund efforts for infrastructure improvements on the southeastern edge of the state.
The first road upgrade would widen approximately 24 mi. of State Road 167 from a two-lane undivided roadway to a four-lane divided roadway beginning from the Alabama/Florida state line north to the intersection with U.S. Highway 84 in the town of Enterprise.
The second road improvement effort would widen approximately 13 mi. of SR 52, extending a segment from Geneva northeast to Dothan that is currently being widened to SR 167.
Both projects could receive construction funding soon.
The other BUILD grant is for $15 million to the city of Tuscaloosa to improve access to the Riverwalk in the neighborhood known as West Tuscaloosa.
"Both BUILD grants will provide important federal resources that will improve infrastructure and promote increased economic development opportunities in Alabama," Shelby said. "I would like to thank Transportation Secretary [Elaine] Chao, the USDOT, and the local communities for their work on these projects."
The BUILD grant for the city of Tuscaloosa will improve the Riverwalk's Black Warrior River barge mooring, construct a bicycle and pedestrian path, and complete a pedestrian bridge on the western edge of town.
The mooring improvements will allow the abandoned lock structure to be used for the construction of the shared-use path. The pedestrian bridge will cross the new Jack Warner Parkway, and the bicycle and pedestrian path will run from the new pedestrian bridge to the existing riverfront park to the east, with lighting and security elements.