I-22 Set to Open in Jasper by ’05

Thu August 19, 2004 - Southeast Edition

JASPER, AL (AP) Members of the Corridor X task force expect the future Interstate 22 will open to Jasper by next spring, then reach Adamsville by the end of next year.

Steve Ostaseski, of the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, gave those projections at a July meeting of the task force. No other openings will take place before Jasper.

“They want to open it up all the way to Jasper in one fell swoop,” Ostaseski said.

The traffic coming off Highway 129 now, where Corridor X officially ends, exits onto Highway 78 using approximately five lanes, he said. To expect to use any of the two-lane roads between there and Jasper, such as Highway 13, would create a traffic nightmare that has led engineers to wait until Jasper.

“Highway 13 could not handle that flow,” he said.

Ostaseski noted signs calling the highway “Future I-22” are being made in Montgomery.

Jefferson County Commissioner Mary Buckalew, who presided over the task force’s quarterly meeting, said the signs would be well worth the costs no matter how expensive they are.

Approximately 35 mi. of the $1-billion highway are now in use in Marion County, with 3.7 mi. still under construction, according to information distributed at the task force meeting.

Approximately 13 mi. are in use in Walker County, with approximately 27.6 mi. still under construction in the county. In Jefferson County, approximately 12 mi. are under construction and approximately 4 mi. are under design.

Ostaseski said bids for base and paving through to U.S. 78 in Graysville should be let this September.

Ostaseski plans meetings with landowners and developers in Hamilton, Jasper and Birmingham to discuss the project’s impact. He said a June 15 meeting in Hamilton went well.

“We learned in Hamilton we needed a lot more input from landowners,” he said.