On the road to more growth

Shelby County has recently been the beneficiary of a lot of happy news when it comes to the county’s infrastructure.

First, Gov. Robert Bentley brought welcome news for the city of Calera July 24, when he announced the city would receive $8 million from the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program to fund an expansion of the U.S. 31 bridge over I-65 at Exit 231.

The bridge will expand from two lanes to six lanes — a huge change that will have a far-reaching impact for Calera and that part of Shelby County. With this expansion, the bridge — part of a well-used road — will be safer for rush-hour traffic and emergency personnel and will help the city attract businesses and create jobs for residents. In turn, that should lead to even more people and families considering Calera as a place to settle down.

This one project — this $8 million from the state — could be a turning point for the city of Calera. We hope that city leaders can guide the growth that’s surely forthcoming and make decisions to position Calera as an economic leader moving forward, both for Shelby County and for the state of Alabama.

Bentley also announced funding for the widening of Alabama 119 in Alabaster, which city leaders expect to spur economic development south of the Publix shopping center. ATRIP funds will supply about $8.2 million for the project.

Finally, Bentley announced funding for an intersection improvement project in Helena, which will allow the city to add a dedicated left turn lane on Shelby County 261. That should help lessen traffic congestion on the road, especially during evening rush hour, said Helena Mayor Mark Hall.

We’re thrilled to see that infrastructure improvements are being made now to help Shelby County continue to grow in the decades to come. State officials clearly recognize Shelby County’s economic power and are rewarding the county by investing in it, which only helps to set up the county for a strong future.

Growth will continue to come to Shelby County, but that’s only a good thing if we are prepared for it. These improvements ensure that we will be.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.