City could move on new road for Alabaster Exchange

Aronov Vice President of Development John Argo, right, visits the future site of the Alabaster Exchange shopping center during a 2012 television filming. Alabaster could move forward with paving a new road through the proposed project's land. (File)

Aronov Vice President of Development John Argo, right, visits the future site of the Alabaster Exchange shopping center during a 2012 television filming. Alabaster could move forward with paving a new road through the proposed project’s land. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Alabaster officials are prepared to approach property owners on the land for the proposed Alabaster Exchange shopping center to discuss moving forward with re-routing Shelby County 26.

During the Alabaster City Council’s May 6 pre-meeting work session, council members said the city is interested in moving forward with extending Shelby County 26 from its current terminus at Old U.S. 31 to U.S. 31 near the Carmeuse Lime quarry.

“That is a very important step if we could make that happen,” said Alabaster City Manager George Henry.

Alabaster officials previously said they planned to extend Shelby County 26 once work began on the Alabaster Exchange shopping center, which is a proposed 300,000-square-foot shopping center adjacent to the South Promenade shopping center.

Henry said development of the Alabaster Exchange has “moved out a little further” as city officials and the Aronov development company work to recruit businesses.

Moving forward with extending Shelby County 26 could help with retail development, said state Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, the executive director of the Alabaster Industrial Development Board.

“I do not think (extending the road) would hurt recruiting at all. I think it would be a benefit,” Ward said. “Once that (road) is punched through, it makes it much more retail accessible. I think it would be a win for all of us.”

Ward 7 Councilman Tommy Ryals suggested the city pave a two-lane road through the proposed Alabaster Exchange property and secure enough right-of-way to widen the road to four lanes in the future.

If the city extends Shelby County 26 to U.S. 31, the new intersection will replace the current U.S. 31-Old 31 intersection. Alabaster officials currently are working with the Alabama Department of Transportation to recalibrate red light sensors on the U.S. 31-Old 31 intersection, Henry said.

“If you’re going to do all that (sensor) work and then move it later, why not do all the work at the same time,” Ryals said.