By Ashley Graves
The Cullman Times
GOOD HOPE —
With the potential for growth in the near future, a new bridge at Exit 304 in Good Hope may soon be on the horizon.
Good Hope Mayor Corey Harbison met with Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) officials in Montgomery recently to discuss the options for applying for an extension of the bridge, a turn lane, and two shoulders for emergency vehicle use.
“The guys from the division’s talked favorably of the project,” Harbison told the council. “They said structurally the bridge was fine for right now, but with the traffic counts and traffic flows, it’s functionally obsolete.
“We could survive another 5-10-years probably, but as we grow, and traffic gets heavier, and Good Hope school grows, how are we going to control all of it? It’s just something we have to decide if we want to put the money where our mouth is or just sit back.”
Harbison said the cost of the project would be roughly $7.5 million. He added John Cooper, director of ALDOT, suggested the city apply for a grant through the governor’s Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP). Should the city be approved for the money, 80 percent of the project would be paid for through federal bonds issued under the Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle, or GARVEE bond program. The remaining portion would require a 20 percent matching contribution from the city.
Because there is no cost to apply, members of the city council were all in agreement to move forward with the application process.
“I told Mr. Cooper that personally I didn’t feel like we could pay for the whole project, the matching, the engineering, and everything, but I told him it would be worth the state looking at to say hey, 15 years from now we’re going to have to replace this bridge anyway, so why not go ahead and put $1 million in instead of waiting and the cost be $12 million,” Harbison said.
If awarded, he added, the city would then decided which direction it needed to go to help pay for it.
“If we’re awarded the grant, we’ll have to figure out how we’ll pay for it, whether it be a half cent sales tax increase, of how we plan to pay for it,” Harbison said.
In addition to the ATRIP grand submitted for the Interstate 65 bridge at exit 304, the council also agreed to move forward with the ATRIP grant application process to help resurface Day Gap Road from Beach Grove Road to Interstate 65, as well as County Road 587.
“Day Gap is awful,” Harbison said. “It’s crumbling. It’s going to have to be fixed within the next year and a half regardless. That’s probably one of the worst roads in Good Hope as far as paved roads. County Road 587 is starting to have a lot of cracks in it also.”
The city’s cost for the resurfacing of Day Gap Road would be roughly $78,000 according to Harbison, while work on County Road 587 would cost approximately $120,000. If approved, Harbison said matching funds from the project would be paid for through an existing loan the city has.
Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org