Madison County Looking Forward To Road Improvements

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) -  Major road funding is headed this way.  Madison County is set to receive more than $8 million in state funding for two road projects designed to alleviate congestion and improve safety.

One of those projects is widening Winchester Road from the Flint River past Bell
Factory Road.  The price tag is $3.6 million.  However, the state is picking up nearly $3 million of that cost.

The project is among about 300 other statewide improvements Governor Robert Bentley approved on Monday through the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, or ATRIP.

Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong says the entire county allotment represents the largest single funding award for Madison County roads in history.

Three Rivers Farmers Market is located on Winchester Road.  The business sells some of the best produce and handmade Amish furniture in the area.

Employees also have a front row seat for the daily bottleneck effect outside the shop.

"It's just lined up far as you can see from one place to the other," said Rowe Williams, the owner.  "It's a mess!"

The new right of way will come over a good 25 feet into the market's parking lot.  Williams says he's prepared for the potential headache.

"It ain't gonna get no better and it'll probably be a little worse because there's going to be trucks coming in and out," said Williams.

WHNT News 19 asked Williams if he thinks the widening of Flint River Bridge from two lanes to four will help his business.

"I think it will help development out here a lot, and the more development we get it will help," said Williams.

With the state footing 80 percent of the costs, Williams says he's ready to supplement that school and work traffic with the shopping variety.

"I think it'll be a whole lot better, four lanes are better than two, you know that!" said Williams.

The new funding now brings the total invested in this project to more than $14 million and puts the county one step closer to completion.

Other Road Improvements

Madison County Commissioner Phil Vandiver is excited about a project on the other side of the county, expected to usher in great improvements for District 4.

"This project has been told to us numerous times that it can't be done," said Vandiver.

Vandiver says without a $5.6 million boost from the state, an overpass at Blake Bottom Road would have remained a pipe dream for the county.

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"Oh it was truly, now that you've got 80/20 money that the county only has to come up with 20 percent of the money, this definitely brings this project to the forefront," said Vandiver.

Vandiver says the overpass will improve commute times for thousands of drivers.

"Especially in the afternoons coming north out of Research Park and Research Park Boulevard there," said Vandiver. "It also gives us other ways to get our fire departments and first responders out to Blake Bottom Road and Highway 53 more quickly."

The largest single combined funding award for roads in Madison County history, and improved commuter convenience and safety.  For that, Vandiver says there are some thanks to be given.

"The governor for putting this funding project together so we can alleviate some of the problems we have here," said Vandiver. "We also want to thank [State Rep.] Mac McCutcheon and Chairman Strong for staying after this project."

The 302 current projects are the most announced to date under the ATRIP program.  Improvements will also take place in Morgan, Marshall, Jackson and Limestone counties.

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