ALDOT plans to widen I-65 from Alabaster to Pelham

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Alabama Department of Transportation will be ready to bid out a project to widen Interstate 65 from Alabaster to Pelham if funding becomes available sooner than expected, said ALDOT Division Engineer Brian Davis.

The Shelby County Commission recently approved a municipal resolution supporting the project, which would widen I-65 from four lanes to eight lanes from Alabaster’s Promenade Exit 238 to Pelham’s tank farm Exit 242.

ALDOT recently completed a project widening the interstate from Hoover to the tank farm exit.

“This would just be a continuation of that widening project,” Davis said.

When ALDOT asks for a government entity to pass a municipal resolution supporting a project, it usually means the project is ready to go out for bids. But Davis said ALDOT has not yet set a firm timeline for the widening, and said it is dependent on when funding becomes available.

“We usually send a (municipal) resolution at the end of the planning process and right before we let it out for bids,” Davis said of the approximately $50 million project. “But at this point, this project is completely dependent on funding becoming available.”

“Sometimes some federal money comes in that you weren’t accounting for,” Davis added. “We just want to have everything ready to go in case that happens.”

The project tentatively is set to begin in November 2015, which is ALDOT’s 2016 fiscal year, Davis said.

Davis said funding also could possibly come if other ALDOT projects don’t proceed as scheduled.

“Sometimes a project has a big problem, and it gets delayed,” Davis said. “If another project falls through, it’s good to have this one lined up, because you may be able to splash some money from this project to this one.”

Davis said the widening project from Alabaster to Pelham will help ease congestion on the four-lane stretch of interstate.

“I expect this project will have a big impact. The (widening projects) we’ve already done have,” Davis said.