HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Design engineering is progressing ahead of schedule on six of eight major road projects in connection with the City’s landmark $250 million roads agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation.
The final two projects, Cecil Ashburn and South Parkway from Weatherly to Hobbs, will begin design engineering next year. Construction is set to start mid-year on Highway 72 East at Maysville and Shields Road and the Epworth Drive Extension.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle says he is extremely pleased with the priority attention ALDOT and the City’s Urban Development Department are giving the road projects.
“The State and the City have committed staff, along with engineering consultants, working to ensure these projects meet the construction dates committed to the public,” said Mayor Battle.
Urban Development Director Shane Davis said the final development agreement for the $250 million cost-sharing partnership is under review by ALDOT and is expected to have final City approval at the March 13 City Council meeting.
“ALDOT and our staff have been meeting regularly, and we will continue to do so on all design aspects of the committed projects,” said Davis.
The City of Huntsville is paying for its share of the road construction with revenues generated from the new one cent sales tax that will take effect March 1. Notices regarding the pending tax were mailed to every business address in January and February and also emailed to addresses on file.
“We want to remind all local businesses they must begin collecting 4.5 percent City tax at midnight this Saturday morning, March 1,” said Randy Taylor, Huntsville's Director of Finance. “Alabama’s e-file web site will also start collecting 4.5 percent at midnight, Saturday morning. This means businesses will have to pay the tax whether or not they start collecting it at the appointed time.”
The additional one cent sales tax is expected to generate between $32 and $35 million per year. The tax was approved with the stipulation that $25 million be spent annually on road construction with the remaining funds used to support economic development projects.
- Hwy. 72 (Maysville/Shields Rd.), design/engineering 100% complete, construction to start May 2014.
- Epworth Drive Extension, design/engineering complete by March 2014, construction to start summer 2014.
- South Memorial Parkway (Martin Rd./Lily Flagg), design/engineering 90% complete, construction to start early 2015.
- North Memorial Parkway (Mastin Lake overpass), design/engineering underway, construction to start 2016.
- Hwy 72 (Providence Main to County Line Rd.), design/engineering underway, construction to start 2016.
- S.R. 255/MLK from Pulaski Pike to U.S. 231, design/engineering underway, construction to start 2017.
- Cecil Ashburn Improvements, design/engineering to start 2015, construction to start 2017.
- U.S. 231 South (Weatherly Rd. to Hobbs Rd.), design/engineering to start 2015, construction to start 2017.