Calera moves ahead on trio of projects

Resurfaced lanes on U.S. 31, updated flood plain maps and progress on Calera’s proposed truck bypass are in the works, according to City Engineer Chris Pappas.

Pappas updated the Calera City Council on the three “long-awaited” projects during the council’s April 5 meeting.

City officials recently began meeting with Calera residents and business owners affected by the city’s new flood plain maps. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently approved the new maps, which replaced flood charts the city had been using for about 30 years, Pappas said.

“They were inaccurate, to say the least,” Pappas said of the old flood plain maps. “We’ve been working hard to get the new maps into our GIS system.”

The updated maps will more accurately detail which homes and businesses lay in known floodways throughout the city. Insurance companies use the maps to determine if a resident or business owner needs to purchase flood plain insurance, Pappas said.

“In some cases, you had people who had that insurance who didn’t need it, and some people who didn’t have it but need it,” Pappas said. “This is going to allow us to more accurately tell people if they need it or not.”

Pappas also announced the Alabama Department of Transportation could begin repaving U.S. 31 in Calera from the Chilton County line northward to Seventh Avenue by this summer.

The City Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the project, which the state will take bids on until the end of April. Once the state accepts a bid for the project, it will likely authorize a contractor to begin on the project as early as July, Pappas said.

“It will probably take about two months from the time the state hires a contractor until they begin working on the road,” Pappas said. “That will be a good project, but it will be a tough one to suffer through downtown. It will definitely be worth it, though.”

Calera officials also moved one step closer toward constructing a Shelby County 25 bypass, which would reroute industrial traffic north of downtown Calera.

Currently, many trucks are forced to travel through downtown to reach the city’s lime plants and other industrial areas.

Pappas said the city should have its environmental documents on the project approved by the end of May, and could hire a consultant to determine the preliminary design of the project this summer.

“Once he get’s 65 percent of the preliminary design done, we can go ahead and start with the right-of-way acquisition,” Pappas said. “We’re close.”

In other business, the council approved the details of Calera’s first farmers’ market.

Markets will begin June 1, and will be held every Tuesday from 3-7 p.m. at Oliver Park, said event organizer Rebecca Krueger.

Krueger said she is hoping to fill about 10 booths during each market. For more information, or to become involved with the market, call Krueger at 668-9317, or e-mail arkaysbexter@hotmail.com.