What’s the latest on the 119 widening project?

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The timeline for a project to widen Alabama 119 south of Fulton Springs Road in Alabaster hinges on the amount of time it takes to secure right-of-way for the project, which could take multiple years, according to one of the project’s engineers.

Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood engineer Keith Strickland gave Alabaster City Council members an update on the project during a Feb. 9 work session.

In 2014, the council approved a contract with the engineering firm to conduct a topographic survey and corridor study for a project to widen Alabama 119 from its intersection with Fulton Springs Road to just south of Veterans Park. Plans call for the road to be widened to five lanes – Two travel lanes in each direction and a center turn lane – along the nearly two-mile stretch.

Strickland showed council members a preliminary corridor study for the project during the work session, and said the company is preparing to move to the next step in the project’s design. He said the company is working to determine engineering fees for the project, and likely will present a formal engineering contract for the council’s consideration in the coming weeks.

“Once we begin design in March, it will probably take the rest of the year to design,” Strickland said, noting the company will present the design plan to the Alabama Department of Transportation once the design is 60 percent complete. “Once ALDOT approves the 60-percent plan, then we can start talking right-of-way acquisition.

“This time next year, we should be starting right-of-way acquisition, which could take a few years to negotiate,” Strickland said. “It’s just a slow process, especially when you’re dealing with this many parcels.”

In 2012, the state approved about $10 million in funding to widen the section of Alabama 119 through its Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program. Initial plans call for a 10-foot-wide multi-use path along one side of the road.