Alabama is investing tens of millions of dollars in road and bridge repairs, as part of the “Rebuild Alabama” initiative. The money comes from the state’s new gas tax and federal infrastructure funds. Construction work is underway on Birmingham’s Red Mountain Expressway and the beach corridor, with pavement work soon to begin on I-65. A project to widen I-59 from the 459 interchange up to Chalkville Mountain Road is also in its final design phase. Some of the funds are being directed to local governments for repairs. The cost of road repairs has risen by 20-30% in some areas, but the new funds have helped to keep projects on track.
According to an article in ABC 33/40 News, regardless of where you travel in Alabama, the chances are good you will pass through a construction zone. As a part of the “Rebuild Alabama” initiative, tens of millions of dollars are being invested to repair, widen, and replace roads and bridges in the state.
The initiative, signed into law in 2019, uses money from Alabama’s new gas tax as well as federal infrastructure dollars. “You’ll see a lot of work going on this Summer, and we’re excited to utilize these funds that have been made available through the gas tax and federal funds we’ve received – the federal program adopted last year,” said DeJarvis Leonard, Alabama Department of Transportation.
If you’re planning a road trip across the state this Summer or even a staycation, chances are you’ll pass through a construction zone. Work is underway now on Birmingham’s Red Mountain Expressway, adding a barrier wall and guardrails. The beach corridor will also see upgrades. Pavement work will soon be underway on I-65 from Highway 31 in Alabaster to the Chilton County line. Because 65 is so busy in the Summer, ALDOT will keep wreckers on standby in heavily traveled spots in case a crash happens.
A big project to watch for toward the end of this year aims to ease traffic congestion in the Trussville area. ALDOT expects to widen I-59 from the 459 interchange up to Chalkville Mountain Road. Right now, the plan is in its final design phase. “For the locals, it’ll be beneficial to them also to be able to get turn lanes in on some routes to avoid backups in the mornings,” Leonard said.
Some of the money is also being directed to local governments for needed repairs. “The biggest takeaway right now is that the locals are getting an opportunity to identify projects they need in their area, and we’re able to move those up,” Leonard said.
Like everything else, the cost keeps rising. “Just as prices have gone up at the grocery store – prices to pave roads have gone up also,” Leonard said. “We’re seeing in the Birmingham area a 20-30% increase in prices on some projects. If we had not gotten these additional funds both federally and the new gas tax, we would really be hurting to maneuver and get project let to contract.”
Another project on the way: ALDOT plans to expand the split of I-59/20 and I-20 going East. As of now, drivers must merge into one lane as they pass the airport. The plan is to have two lanes to ease congestion. ALDOT plans to take bids later this year.
To finalize everything, the Rebuild Alabama initiative is bringing much-needed improvements to the state’s roads and bridges. While it may cause some inconvenience for travelers, the long-term benefits will be worth it. So, if you’re planning a road trip in Alabama this Summer, be prepared for construction zones, but also know that you’ll be driving on safer and smoother roads in the future.