MADISON, Ala. — Town Madison, a 563-acre modern, urban community broke ground in 2014 and is still an active project. The ramp intended to connect the area to I-565 has yet to be open, though many believe it’s finished.
Trash Pandas President and CEO Ralph Nelson says it should have been open months ago to prevent traffic congestion.
“The ramp has been substantially complete since, to the best of my knowledge, around August, which is when I was first told it would be open,” said Nelson.
Nelson added that one of the reasons for choosing to build the stadium in the Town Madison area was the promise of ramps.
News 19 asked Nelson what he was told about why the ramp remained closed.
“Well that depends on who you talk to,” he said. “The developer, who’s a business partner of mine, says the City won’t let the State know that they’d like it open. The City tells us it’s the developer’s fault. The State is saying it’s not our project. There’s an awful lot of double-talk going on and it’s not fair to our fans.”
News 19 reached out to the same groups.
Samantha Magnuson with the City of Madison sent the following statement:
The developer is responsible for building and completing the interchange at Town Madison. He is currently working with ALDOT, and the city is eager to see this project come to completion. It will definitely help the Town Madison district to be successful.Samantha Magnuson
Seth Burkett, the North Region Public Information Officer for the Alabama Department of Transportation said the ramp is not a state project and later clarified they still help oversee the project. He said:
What you are describing is a punch list of final work items or corrections provided to assist them in bringing the project in line with our standards before the developer releases their contractor. This is fully a private project, but it does have to meet federal/state standards because it accesses an interstate highway and because the state can’t accept it for future maintenance if it does not meet those standards. However, the eastbound ramps are just the first phase of the interchange. Town Madison’s agreement with ALDOT and the Federal Highway Administration was that construction must be underway on the next phase of the interchange before the eastbound ramps can be opened to traffic.Seth Burkett
Joey Ceci, the spokesperson for the developer, Breland Companies, says the process is in the final stages.
“Pretty much finished but like any other large project, there’s always a punch-list right at the end,” said Ceci. “There was a couple areas where there was a bit of erosion. They wanted us to go back and put some rock in. There was an area that needed some additional grass seeding.”
He also pointed to the other end of the development as one of the biggest hold ups: the lights at Town Madison Blvd. and Zierdt Rd.
“So we are waiting on power to get to those,” said Ceci. “Once those are up and running and we get these last couple items done, then really in a couple weeks, this will be open to traffic.”
Nelson brought up his frustrations to the Madison City Council and to Governor Kay Ivey, in hopes of seeing the process speed up.