Battle Says State Needs To Build Mastin Lake Overpass

battle400

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (al.com) – Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle says state officials need to keep their “commitment” to begin building a new Memorial Parkway overpass at Mastin Lake Road in 2018.

During a Wednesday news conference near the intersection, Battle said a recent Alabama Department of Transportation decision to delay the overpass until 2023 will add nearly $30 million to the cost.

“Huntsville has waited decades for the completion of the Memorial Parkway north-south corridor, and we cannot withstand any more delays,” said Battle. “We are rapidly reaching the break point where the Parkway will be at capacity before it is ever finished.”

ALDOT announced in May that it plans to delay 14 Huntsville road projects, and dozens more elsewhere in the state, due to lack of funds. In a Tuesday interview with The Huntsville Times/AL.com, ALDOT Director John Cooper said a combination of declining gas tax revenues and rising construction costs has left the agency with just $150 million a year to spend statewide on new or expanded roads.

At Cooper’s direction, ALDOT’s professional staff and division engineers whittled what had been a five-year, $4 billion transportation improvement plan down to $1.5 billion over 10 years. Cooper said projects that stayed in the plan generally provided a safety benefit, relieved traffic congestion and/or completed a corridor that had already been started.

We have done our part in meeting our obligations, and we need the state to uphold their commitment.
Battle responded to the cutbacks by launching a “Restore Our Roads” campaign.

He is urging Huntsville residents to lobby Cooper and Gov. Robert Bentley for quicker action on planned Parkway overpasses at Mastin Lake, Lily Flagg and Byrd Spring roads.

According to the city, Madison County generated an average of $72 million a year in gasoline tax revenue for the state from 2000-2012.

“We have prioritized our resources and spent millions of taxpayer dollars to support ALDOT in the effort to complete the overpasses on Memorial Parkway,” said Shane Davis, the city’s director of urban development. “We have done our part in meeting our obligations, and we need the state to uphold their commitment.”

Battle was joined at Wednesday’s news conference by City Councilman Richard Showers, Madison County Commissioner Bob Harrison, state Reps. Jim Patterson and Phil Williams, local NAACP President Alice Sams, and representatives from Alabama A&M University and Drake State Community and Technical College.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 654 other followers