- Cullman, Alabama

September 4, 2012

Cullman County's next step for economic upswing

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — A long-anticipated interchange at Interstate 65 and County Road 222 may be finding new life in the coming months.

Area officials recently met with Alabama Department of Transportation Director John Harris to discuss the project. While they walked away without a scheduled time for breaking ground, the issue of money may soon be resolved.

Matching funds from the county, City of Cullman, and Good Hope could soon be in place, which would clear the way for Gov. Robert Bentley to authorize the project in December. If that’s the case, work could start next summer on this vital road development.

When Topre arrived in Cullman County some 10 years ago, a plan was put in place to develop the interchange and provide better traffic flow for area residents and the company, which is in the midst of a major expansion. The safety factor alone should be enough to move this work forward.

County Road 222 and Alabama Highway 69 are heavily traveled. The interchange would relieve some traffic pressure in the area. The project would also open up a new door of business opportunity for the area.

State Sen. Paul Bussman said the economic impact, through a retail perspective, would be tremendous for Good Hope and the county and Cullman. He also said ALDOT’s plans are already in place for the project, just waiting for the authorization.

Road money in Alabama is often scarce as it gets shifted from one priority to another. Cullman County is one of the state’s brightest economic areas and needs this project completed, which was promised long ago, so that it can continue its growth.

Gov. Bentley, in his first term of office, has visited Cullman several times and is well aware of the tremendous success and effort put forward in economic development at the local level. The area is one of the state’s best examples of a local community aggressively pursuing development and working closely with the state.

Another jumpstart for economic development rests in the status of the interchange at County Road 222. Local support will be in place. The governor’s push in December is all that is needed to make this project move forward.