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Gulf Shores, Ala., Plans to Widen State Roadway by Adding Third Southbound Lane

Tue November 29, 2022 - Southeast Edition
Orange Beach Area

New Third Southbound Lane from Coastal Gateway Boulevard  to Fort Morgan Road (Hwy 180). (Map courtesy of City of Gulf Shores Alabama website)
New Third Southbound Lane from Coastal Gateway Boulevard to Fort Morgan Road (Hwy 180). (Map courtesy of City of Gulf Shores Alabama website)

The small beach town of Gulf Shores has decided to add a third southbound lane to Alabama Highway 59 from the Target store to Fort Morgan Road in Baldwin County.

OBA, the community website for the greater Orange Beach Area, noted Nov. 18 that Mobile-based John G. Walton Construction submitted the winning bid for the more than $10 million construction project.

In a memo to the city council prior to its Nov. 21 work session, City Engineer Mark Acreman recommended that the council accept the bid, OBA said.

Gulf Shores also will use part of a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grant of more than $14 million in the agency's Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) transportation program.

"The project will also provide intersection improvements along the route as well as access management to reduce vehicular accidents," Acreman's memo read. "The city was awarded the grant by the FHWA in November 2019 for capacity improvements to [Ala. 59]."

He noted that the BUILD Grant also included funds to upgrade the access roadways to the city's Medical Village, along with a pedestrian bridge, and improvements to Baldwin County Road 6 West.

Construction is expected to begin in January on the widening of Ala. 59 in Gulf Shores, a project that is slated to take two years to complete, city officials told OBA. Simultaneously, the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) will add the third lane on the southbound side from the Target store to County Road 8.

"It is scheduled to start in mid-2023 and be completed with Phase 1," according to Acreman's memo. "The BUILD Grant will provide $6.4 million in funding for this [second] project. We have budgeted $5.3 million in matching costs in [our] FY 2023 [budget]. In addition, we will shortly advertise for utility relocation work for [Ala. 59] north of the Holmes Bridge."

Beach Town Making Several Upgrades

The city is currently waiting for permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard before it can begin constructing the pedestrian bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway at East Second Street, OBA noted.

McElhenney Construction, also from Mobile, has the contract to build the first two phases of the Medical Village access improvements, which includes a road from Cotton Creek Drive/County Road 4 to the freestanding emergency room and a traffic signal on Ala. 59 leading to the medical complex. The project's second phase will include a traffic signal at the Cotton Creek entrance.

In addition, last May, the Gulf Shores city council announced plans to spend almost $3 million to begin the process of building a new Justice Center at the Cotton Creek Drive entrance to the Medical Village.

"This new facility will combine the police department, jail and municipal courts under one roof," according to city documents. "[The project] will provide significant enhancements for the police department, providing a modern up-to-date facility that will adequately fulfill [its needs]."

OBA noted that the $3 million will come in the form of two contracts to prepare design, construction, and bid documents for the new center. One contract, for about $2 million, will go to Police Facility Design Group, a Kansas City, Mo., architectural firm, and a second for $910,000 to Mobile's Volkert Inc. to help with scheduling, design management, construction management and project coordination.

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