ALDOT to repave U.S. 31 through Pelham

Published 8:35 pm Monday, January 23, 2012

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Alabama Department of Transportation crews soon will begin repaving U.S. 31 through Pelham, but have no immediate plans to widen the road to six lanes, Pelham city officials said during a Jan. 23 City Council meeting.

During the meeting, the council voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with ALDOT for the project, which will repave and restripe U.S. 31 from its intersection with Shelby County 68 to just south of its intersection with Riverchase Parkway.

“This is long overdue because of the condition of the road,” said Pelham City Engineer Jesse Jowers. “ALDOT is getting ready to resurface what’s there.”

The vote came about a month after the City Council voted to also allow ALDOT to repave Shelby County 261. During a December council meeting, Jowers said ALDOT likely would not widen Shelby County 261 for “several years.”

“This (U.S. 31 repaving) is similar to what you did on 261 a month ago,” Jowers said during the Jan. 23 meeting.

“I actually had to get some clarification myself. This is not the six-lane, this is just repaving and restriping,” said Council President Teresa Nichols.

In other business, the council also:

-Voted to reimburse Pelham resident Edward Brasher $2,800 for damages caused to his property when an underground water line broke.

Brasher, who lives in the Chandalar subdivision, has appeared at two previous council meetings to ask for reimbursement for the damages, which occurred in early October 2011.

Brasher previously said he called the city and reported the break when it happened, but the Pelham Water Department employee who responded only turned off one of the two valves flowing to the leak.

During a November meeting, council members told Brasher the city’s insurance would not cover the damages, and said the city’s attorney had advised them not to establish a policy of reimbursing homeowners for such damages.

“But we did say we could consider reimbursing homeowners on a case-by-case basis,” Nichols said.

Councilwoman Karyl Rice called the situation a “moral issue,” and said it was something “we (the council) need to address.”

“In the past, we’ve taken care of people’s property when it was damaged, and I think we need to continue doing that,” Rice said.

Pelham Mayor Don Murphy called Brasher a “good citizen,” and said he had no problems on his property “that weren’t legitimate.”

“I just want to get the man his check,” Murphy said.

-Held the first reading of a motion to enter into a contract with Shelby county to secure sponsorship rights to the 2012 International Triathlon Union world championships at Oak Mountain State Park.

If the motion is passed during the council’s next meeting, the city will pay $5,000 to sponsor the event, which will be held May 19-20. Councilman Steve Powell said last year’s world championship was held in Spain, and said the event will feature competitors from more than 20 countries.