Major Helena intersection receiving upgrades
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
A source of frustration for many Helena drivers may become a little easier to navigate after the state approved funding for an intersection improvement project on July 24.
During his visit to Calera, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley announced the third and final round of funding for the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program. Included on the list was funding for improvements to Helena’s Shelby County 261-Shelby County 17 intersection near Zaxby’s and the Publix shopping center.
The total cost of the project is expected to be about $150,000, of which $120,000 will be provided by the state. Helena will be responsible for providing a $30,000 match for the grant.
“It was small in scope compared to some of the other ones on the (ATRIP) list, but it is very important to us,” said Helena Mayor Mark Hall. “That is exciting news.”
Hall said the city is planning to use the grant to add a dedicated left turn lane on Shelby County 261 to allow drivers traveling west to turn onto Shelby County 17 south.
Currently, Shelby County 261 has a dedicated right turn lane onto Shelby County 52 West and a combined lane handling traffic turning left onto Shelby County 17 and traveling straight onto Coalmont Road.
“It really backs up on 261 during the evening rush hour, and this should really help with that,” Hall said.
Hall said the city is ready to approve engineering on the intersection improvements, and will budget the matching funds for the upcoming budget year.
“We are trying to address these smaller projects as we can to bring folks some relief,” Hall said.
Also included on the ATRIP list released on July 24 was a project to resurface Shelby County 17 between Shelby County 58 and Shelby County 52 in Helena.
Next year, the city is planning to seek grant money to add a turn lane on Shelby County 261 leading to Helena Elementary School, Hall said.