HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-More money for busy roads, but not necessarily all of them. State officials will meet later this week to decide which road improvement projects will soon become reality in Alabama.
Committee members from the Alabama Transporation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, better known as ATRIP, are scheduled to meet in Montgomery on Friday. That committee will decide where roughly $300 million of valuable federal road funding will go, with the federal aid covering eighty percent of all costs. And those dollars could make a vital difference in congested roadways around Huntsville and Madison County.
ATRIP officials said hundreds of road project applications have been filed across the state, but not everyone will be a winner. State Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Huntsville) is one of the seven committee members, and said one of the top priorities will be notoriously congested Jeff Road. A large stretch of Jeff Road is in line for a $13.5 million makeover, taking it from two lanes to five.
"We're working hard to try to make sure we're at the table when it comes time to get this funding," said McCutcheon. "Jeff Road becomes a major collector between State Highway 53 and Highway 72, so there's a lot of traffic that flows up and down this road. It needs all the work we can do."
The Alabama Department of Transportation recently announced a four-year delay on a number of state-funded projects, including a potential overpass at Byrd Springs Road and South Memorial Parkway in Huntsville. Mayor Tommy Battle said he is pushing to get the overpass and other city projects on the federal to-do list.
"We cannot afford to have an "under construction" sign for 30 years on this section of Memorial Parkway," said Mayor Battle, who noted that plans for an overpass at Byrd Springs and Memorial Parkway were first drawn up in 1989. "It spells quality of life for our community, and we as a community are going to try to get those road projects back."
Rep. McCutcheon said the list of project winners will likely be announced within the next few weeks. The federal funding Alabama receives is actually a bond program that has an interest payback rate of just over two percent.