Construction date tentatively set for Calera’s I-65 exit
By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer
CALERA – Calera’s Interstate 65 exit 228 northbound onramp may be under construction as early as November, according to the Alabama Department of Transportation.
The project bid is tentatively scheduled to open Sept. 28, according to ALDOT Spokesman Tony Harris.
“It’s been planned for two-and-a-half years to widen that bridge, which would allow us to extend that onramp,” Harris said, “but it takes a considerable amount of time to develop a construction plan.”
Harris said the project is “nearing the point” of completing the required steps necessary to begin a state-funded construction project.
“We’ve been transparent and open about it the entire time,” Harris said. “I think it’s easy for people to lose sight of that or not know about it.
“There have been a couple of things that have added a little time to it, but typically plan development takes a considerable amount of time,” he added.
While Harris acknowledged the road may need lengthening, he said that safe roadways involve drivers.
“It’s a safety issue in the sense that someone fails to yield at a sign is a safety issue,” Harris said. “Safe roadways start in the driver’s seat with the driver making good decisions.”
Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley said the onramp is an “obvious safety issue.”
“I can’t say we have more or less (accidents) than anyone else, but it seems like we have a lot more,” Lemley said. “In Pelham or Alabaster, they may have fender benders, but in Calera, the wrecks we’re having seem to be pretty bad wrecks.
“I’m not concerned about Alabaster, Hoover and these places; I’m concerned about the accidents were having in Calera,” he added. “I’m trying to do something to reduce the amount of accidents we’re having on I-65.”
To help at present with the accidents on Calera’s stretch of Interstate 65, Lemley contacted Alabama State Troopers in Birmingham for assistance.
“They said they would increase their presence in the south Shelby County area, and I’m hoping that will reduce the amount of accidents we’re having down here,” Lemley said.
“This should be priority number one in the state,” he added. “This is an obvious danger to the public. All these other projects are wonderful and convenient and help out with things, but this project can safe lives and is an obvious endangerment to the public.”