Agreement nears on proposed pedestrian tunnel in Helena

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 31, 2006

An agreement between Shelby County and Helena officials and USS Real Estate is digging the way for the construction of a pedestrian tunnel under Shelby County 52.

The proposed tunnel, which would be part of a larger greenway system built throughout USS Real Estate&8217;s Hillsboro subdivision system, would allow residents using the walking trails without having to cross the busy Shelby County 52.

Shelby County manager Alex Dudchock confirmed this week that the three parties are nearing an agreement that could see construction begin on the tunnel within six months.

Dudchock said the timing for the project and the price make it a viable option for USS Real Estate and the city of Helena to pursue.

Under the agreement, the land developer would build the new tunnel in conjunction with the continued construction of the Hillsboro subdivisions.

Dudchock said the tunnel would cost Shelby County between $65,000 and $75,000, with USS Real Estate paying $450,000 for its installation and the city of Helena paying for its regular maintenance and upkeep.

The tunnel would be almost 80 feet long, 10 feet high and 12 feet wide.

The USS Real Estate greenway is planned to stretch 2 1/2 miles from the Helena Amphitheater Park, under Shelby County 52, to the new Helena middle school.

The greenway plan also has options for additional wings for future parks and trails that could extend to Beaver Dam Creek.

USS Real Estate is currently working on its third phase of a three-section subdivision in the Helena area. The company has already completed 3,100 homes between Shelby County 17 and Shelby County 52 &045; with 1,400 more homes currently under construction between Shelby County 91 and Alabama 261.

Dudchock said there was potential for the greenway to stretch as far as 5 1/2 miles with help from USS Real Estate and the city of Helena.

He said, regardless of its actual distance, the greenway system would benefit all of Shelby County in the long run