On Monday, Gov. Robert Bentley announced the approval of 302 additional road and bridge projects, the largest number of projects to date through the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program.
Auburn and Lee County were also included in the project list. Auburn has two projects that were approved by the state, which include intersection improvements at College Street and Longleaf Drive, as well as widening the intersection of Opelika Road and University Drive. The combined cost of the two projects rounds upwards of $2.2 million, with the city providing nearly $437,000 on their own.
Auburn City Engineer Jeffery Ramsey said the project would entail widening the roads approximately 12 feet to create a broader left turn lane in the intersection. Ramsey singled out the Opelika Road/East University Drive project due to studies being done on the high traffic volume that occurs in that intersection.
“If you go out there during the peak hours, you see a lot of stacking going on,” Ramsey said. “By adding the double left, obviously you can get twice as many cars turning at one time.”
Ramsey said the Longleaf Drive project was very similar, except it would not include the northbound area.
“We’re adding it to all except the northbound,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey said the Longleaf Drive/South College Street project has already been designed and permitted and could be started as early as this summer. The Opelika Road/East University Drive Project has yet to be designed and would likely start next summer.
Lee County was also approved for two projects: the widening and resurfacing of Lee Road 158 from Lee Road 183 to the Lee Road 379 junction and the resurfacing of Lee Road 146 from Auburn to State Road 169. The combined cost of the two projects rounds comes out to roughly $3.6 million with the county providing $725,000.
Lee County Engineer Justin Hardee said part of the criteria for submission was roads that served connective purposes from cities to rural communities and that Lee Road 146 met those criteria, in addition to the fact that it had not been resurfaced in over 10 years.
“Basically, it was on the curve of fixing to start heading downhill at a very fast pace, so we wanted to take this opportunity utilizing ATRIP money awarded to address this roadway and get it back into good shape,” Hardee said, who added that the road would be widened to 24 feet.
Regarding Lee Road 158, Hardee said it was in worse condition in several respects and that it would be widened to 22 feet.
Hardee said he appreciates the work that ATRIP provides and that his office would be diligent in their work on the roads.
“The ATRIP program is making funds available to counties that they wouldn’t have otherwise to address needs of our deteriorating infrastructure,” Hardee said.
A total of 439 road and bridge projects have been announced since Bentley formally unveiled the ATRIP initiative in March 2012.
An additional round of ATRIP funding is scheduled for later in the spring with previously submitted projects being eligible. The submission deadline is May 31.