Alabaster OKs agreement for Fulton Springs extension

Alabaster is working with the Alabama Department of Transportation and Shelby County to extend Fulton Springs Road from its current terminus at Old Highway 31, pictured, to U.S. 31. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Alabaster is working with the Alabama Department of Transportation and Shelby County to extend Fulton Springs Road from its current terminus at Old Highway 31, pictured, to U.S. 31. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – A plan to extend Fulton Springs Road from its current terminus at Old Highway 31 to U.S. 31 moved another step toward completion after the Alabaster City Council recently approved a traffic signal agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation.

During a June 27 meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with ALDOT to install a new traffic signal at the new Fulton Springs-U.S. 31 intersection once the road project is completed.

Drivers traveling from Fulton Springs Road to U.S. 31 currently must turn onto Old Highway 31 to access U.S. 31. Once completed, the extension project will directly connect Fulton Springs Road with U.S. 31, and will move the traffic signal from the Old Highway 31-U.S. 31 intersection to the Fulton Springs Road-U.S. 31 intersection.

Once the project is completed, ALDOT will remove the current traffic signal at the intersection of Old U.S. 31 and U.S. 31, and will place a new signal at the Fulton Springs Road-U.S. 31 intersection.

Through the agreement approved on June 27, ALDOT will fund removing the old signal and installing the new one, and Alabaster will be responsible for maintaining the new signal.

In October 2011, the Montgomery-based Aronov company announced plans to build a 300,000-square-foot Alabaster Exchange shopping center on the property off U.S. 31. Construction plans called for the new shopping center to be about the same size as the South Promenade shopping center.

However, in March 2014, Aronov stepped away from the project after it was unable to attract a large retailer to anchor the proposed shopping center.

In February 2014, the Alabaster City Council voted to enter into a temporary $2.5 million line of credit with Central State Bank for “economic development purposes” on a portion of the proposed Alabaster Exchange land. The city used a portion of the money to purchase a few tracts of land on the property, which it plans to use to extend Fulton Springs Road.

City officials previously said they are continuing to work to attract developers interested in constructing a retail development on the property south of the South Promenade shopping center, and said extending Fulton Springs Road through to U.S. 31 will allow easier access to the property.

Crews likely will begin working on the project this month.