MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) - Community leaders made a major announcement Tuesday about the future of a new exit along I-565 in Madison. The interchange will be located between the existing Wall Triana Boulevard exit and Zierdt Road.
Construction can now move forward, because the City of Madison passed the final hurdle, an environmental assessment study done by the state of Alabama. “It just makes it easier to stop or get off in the city and then make their commute easier, also give them places to shop on the way home or to work," said Madison Mayor-Elect Paul Finley.
The benefit to Redstone Arsenal commuters may have the biggest impact. “Gate 7 has about 7% of the entire traffic going into Redstone Arsenal every day. Some 41-42,000 people come every day and of course Gate 9 has got 48% of that traffic," said Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong.
Redstone Arsenal employs people from 12 north Alabama counties and two from southeast Tennessee, so drivers are coming from all areas. The hope is commuters coming from the west on I-565, will be able to take Zierdt Road and unclog some of Gate 9's back-ups. “It’ll open up Gate 7. If you’re tried to get to Redstone Arsenal any time between 7 to 8, 8:30, you know the significance another entrance of quality will mean," said Mayor-Elect Finley.
Now that the environmental assessment is complete, bids will go out to contractors for the project. Chairman Strong anticipates you'll see construction equipment out there by January 2017 and it will be ready for commuters by Summer 2018. “We’re perfectly positioned not only today, but the days ahead and this right here is just another piece of a great puzzle," said Chairman Strong.
Town Madison development ready to move forward
The soybean field near the interstate has become a "Field of Dreams" type project for the City of Madison. “We have lots of road access now and the interstate exchange just puts the cherry on top," said Louis Breland, the project's developer.
Community leaders have envisioned some big project along I-565 for nearly a decade. With the interstate exit forthcoming, the puzzle pieces are starting to fall in place. “This final step allows us in selling this property, the last asset that’s needed to close these deals for a lot of these retailers," said Mayor-Elect Finley.
The developer was coy about which specific tenants might be coming. “Right now we are in negotiations, like I said, with some of the top retailers in the nation," said Breland.
He does say big announcements could be coming soon and construction equipment could be on site even sooner. “The residential portion will begin construction in the next 60-90 days and then we hope by January we have two to three larger tenants. We’re on the very cusp of signing contracts with that we should be able to announce," said Breland.
The entire footprint of Town Madison is massive; 500 acres that would house a million square feet of office and entertainment space, plus 3,000 residential units.
City and county leaders are anticipating nearly 2 million in new sales tax revenue. “The sales tax will create dollars for three public school systems and what I’m wanting to do is to allow people a better opportunity to spend their dollars here locally rather than maybe traveling to Atlanta, Nashville, or Birmingham," said Chairman Strong.
Construction on the residential phase of Town Madison is expected to start in the next 60-90 days. Breland Companies hopes to be able to begin work on the first anchor retailers by January 2017.