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Lawrence County Approves Rebuild Alabama Funding to Improve Rural Roads

Mon August 31, 2020 - Southeast Edition
Moulton Advertiser

The Lawrence County Commission recently approved a Rebuild Alabama 2021 road improvement plan for the county, to be funded from state revenue following the increase in the state's gas tax revenue passed in 2019.

The Rebuild Alabama Act Annual (RAA) Grant Program has been administered by the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) for transportation infrastructure projects of local interest since it was passed last year.

Lawrence County Engineer Winston Sitton said the new monies for 2021 will include the construction project along County Road 434, which was approved under the Rebuild Alabama 2020 plan. Sitton told the commission the project has seen several bid-letting delays by the ALDOT, which he said has stalled the work since its approval.

"This is the longest I've ever had a project take, by far," Sitton said. "We're getting ever so closer. I feel like we're right here, and I sure hope it is approved. It won't be this year though, because we won't have an October letting. My hope is for a November letting."

Lawrence County's road department sought to begin construction on the roadway that connects State Route 20 and SR 24 in the Caddo community in 2019, with a projection that it would be completed by early 2020.

Sitton estimated the project to cost $900,000, with $720,000 coming from federal funds and $180,000 in county funds, an 80/20 match. The project includes the improvement of County Road 434, including a $300,000 Norfolk Southern railroad crossing installation for a gravel portion of the roadway, which will also be straightened and paved once completed.

In addition, he explained the 2021 Rebuild Alabama plan also includes a resurfacing project along County Road 236 from its intersection with SR 101 to the SR 33 intersection, north-northwest of Moulton.

"This is the oldest, worst shape road we have right now," he said.

According to Sitton, $369,719 became available for Lawrence County in fiscal year 2020 after a six-cent-per-gallon statewide fuel tax was added to revenues in October 2019. This year, an additional two cents per gallon was implemented in the tax increase, with plans to add another two cents per gallon in 2022.

He estimated $616,199 should be available to the county from the gas tax increase next year and will continue to receive $400,000 annually in federal aid money, which began after the new tax was implemented for 2020.

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