CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

October 10, 2013

ATRIP funds top $23.7M for local transportation infrastructure

By Tiffeny Owens
The Cullman Times

— With $23.7 million in federal funding, Cullman County and its municipalities will be busy for the next few years with a flurry of road paving and bridge replacement projects.

On Wednesday, the county engineer announced five county roads will be resurfaced and Alabama 69 will get an additional turning lane in the third and final round of the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP).

All together , the total 19 ATRIP projects awarded funding for the county and six municipalities will represent a $23.7 million investment into local infrastructure, said County Engineer Jon Brunner.

“We want everyone in Cullman County to understand the profound impact of ATRIP on our area and on your ability to get to school and work,” said Cullman County Chairman Kenneth Walker in a prepared statement. “These improvements will immediately benefit our citizens and our economy, and I'd like to personally thank Gov. Robert Bentley for this wise investment in our local transportation system.”

The county was notified Monday it would receive $3,058,634 in third round funds to add a turn lane on Alabama 69 and pave the following roads: Cullman County 1545 at Alabama 69, CR-1114 from U.S. 278 to Alabama 157, CR-703 and CR-781 from Alabama 91 to CR-747 and CR- 940 from CR-222 to U.S. 278. The county is required to come up with the $764,658.50 match that is 20 percent of the total projects’ cost.

“We will be paving roughly 63 miles in the county that we wouldn’t have been able to without the ATRIP funding,” Brunner said.

The county typically tries to pave around 20 miles each year.

Last month, the city of Cullman was told it would be awarded $1.39 million it requested in the third round to replace its dangerous Convent Road bridge over Eight Mile Creek. The bridge is rated a 12.5 out of 100 on the state’s bridge safety scale, and ALDOT has considered closing it due to its condition. The city will also get another $1.6 million to replace a culvert on Eva Road and pave the stretch of roadway there.

Brunner said three of the four road projects awarded in ATRIP’s first round have been completed: the county repaved two sections of CR-222, from Alabama 69 to CR-109 and from CR-310 to CR-410,  while Hanceville paved Commercial Street from Alabama 91 to CR-565. The fourth project, the addition of turning lanes and a median crossover on U.S. 31 in South Vinemont, may be included in an upcoming Alabama Department of Transportation project to pave a section of U.S. 31.

 The five county projects awarded more than $6 million in ATRIP’s round two are in various stages of preparation and permitting, Brunner said. The paving projects include: CR-565 from CR-490 to Hanceville city limits (and installation of guardrails), CR-747 from Blount/ Cullman county lines to CR-1545, CR-1101 from Lawrence/ Cullman county lines to Alabama 157, CR-1435 from Morgan/ Cullman county lines to Alabama 157 and  CR-1223 from U.S. 31 to CR-1242. Those projects will require a nearly $1.52 million match.

Other projects awarded in round two were: Good Hope, bridge replacement on Beech Grove Road over Bavar Creek; Holly Pond, paving of CR698/55 from Alabama 91 to town limits and Fairview, paving of CR-1669 from town limits to Alabama 69. ATRIP awarded a combined $1.2 million with Good Hope, Holly Pond and Fairview responsible for the following 20 percent matching funds: $228,000, $29,000 and $47,000 respectively.

The most significant ATRIP project — in terms of costs and economic development potential —  is the construction of a new Interstate 65 interchange in Good Hope at CR-22. ATRIP will pay for $9.2 million for the project, with the county and cities of Cullman and Good Hope sharing the remaining $1.3 million, or 20 percent, match.

Brunner said he expects to have round two paving projects ready to be let in 2014 followed by round three projects in 2015. The new Good Hope interchange project is still in the land acquisition phase.

Gov. Robert Bentley established ATRIP last year to help local government fund necessary road and bridge improvements. ATRIP is funded through federal bonds issued under the Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle, or GARVEE, bond program which allows states to borrow against their federal highway allotments in future years to finance immediate-need road project. The state puts up 80 percent of the cost of a project, and a city or county provides the remaining 20 percent.

"ATRIP is making a difference in every county across Alabama by allowing much-needed road and bridge improvement projects to move forward,” Bentley said in a prepared statement. “We're improving public safety, and we're also helping attract more jobs. When companies look for places to build and expand and hire more people, they look for places that have good roads and bridges."

With the projects announced in the October, an estimated $966 million in ATRIP dollars is being invested in more than 1,000 local transportation infrastructure projects. ATRIP, which is administered by the Alabama Department of Transportation, is expected to generate more than 15,000 jobs.

            ATRIP funding    Local match    TOTAL

Cullman County        $10 million    $2.5 million    $12.5 million

City of Cullman        $3 million    $750,000     $3.75 million

City of Good Hope    $910,000    $227,500    $1,137,000

City of Hanceville        $145,500    $36,000        $181,500

Town of Fairview        $189,000    $47,000        $236,000

Town of Holly Pond    $116,000    $29,000        $145,000

Town of Vinemont    $186,500    $47,000        $233,500

Good Hope Interchange    $9.2 million    $1.3 million    $10.5 million

TOTAL             $23.7 million    $4.9 million    $28.6 million  



Tiffeny Owens can be reached by e-mail at towens@cullmantimes.com or by phone at 256-734-2131, ext. 135.