Commission considering road projects

COLUMBIANA – The Shelby County Commission may consider funding needed road improvement projects in the county.

The first of multiple work sessions with commissioners, County Manager Alex Dudchock and Engineer Randy Cole was held at the conclusion of the April 24 meeting at the Mildred B. Harrison Regional Library in Columbiana.

Cole presented commissioners with a draft list of existing and possible projects in the county, along with costs that totaled about $31 million spread over four fiscal years.

Cole stressed that the list is not final as projects can be added or taken away, and that it contains projects that may not be funded in the near future.

“We just wanted to show projects that we have in the works, and some of them aren’t really projects yet because we don’t have funding,” Cole said. “In my business, everything is always fluid. You never know when a project is going to come up that will have urgency.”

The list of projects was separated into state-funded projects, existing projects requiring additional funding, new projects with funding unspecified and an unimproved road program.

Among the most significant projects listed with unspecified funding included a Shelby County 47 bypass and enhancements to the Chelsea town center, completing a three-lane Alabama 119 from Shelby County 14 to Doug Baker Boulevard and widening Alabaster’s Kent Dairy and Thompson roads, which will see increased traffic when a new high school opens in the city.

“We’re going to come under tremendous pressure when that new high school opens,” Cole said.

Improvements to the Chelsea town center, which includes the intersection of Shelby County 39 and Shelby County 47 along with a railroad crossing, is the most pressing need in the county, Cole said, but the work would cost an estimated $6.1 million.

Chelsea Mayor Tony Picklesimer attended the work session to address the county officials about the need for the improvements, and Wilsonville Mayor Lee McCarty was also in attendance to ask the commission to consider helping fund a replacement of a bridge along Alabama 25 in the town.

The next step will be another work session, likely in May, Cole said.

“What I would like to see happen is for the commission to digest the information, consider all the projects and see if we have money available to fund some of those,” he said. “The commission is always very generous, and they fund as they have the availability.”

Dudchock said the county is a healthy financial position to consider funding some of the projects.

“We’re only able to have this discussion because of how you and the staffs have managed the budget,” Dudchock told the commissioners.

In its regular meeting, the commission:

•Approved an application submitted by Robert Laboda on behalf of Laboda Entertainment LLC for the transfer of a 010 – Lounge Retail Liquor – Class 1 license to permit the retail sale of alcoholic beverages at Starz Karaoke Lounge located at 5479 U.S. 280 Suite 118, Birmingham.

•Awarded a bid for paving to the lowest bidder, Dunn Construction, in the amount of about $2.47 million. Two other bids were received, ranging to $3.93 million.

•Awarded bids for correction apparel to the lowest responsive bidders for various items, including Victory Supply, ICS, Bob Barker, Uniforms Mfg. and Charm-tex.

•Awarded bids for correctional apparel and accessories to the lowest responsive bidders for various items, including Carolina Textiles, Victory Supply, ICS, Bob Barker and Charm-tex.

•Approved a resolution requesting the appointment of Laura McAnany and Kirk Mancer to the Region 4 – Central Workforce Board.

•Approved an update to the Shelby County Emergency Operations Plan.

•Approved contracts with ALDOT for state projects on Alabama 25 from 0.05 miles north of Shelby County 61 to Alabama 38 (U.S. 280) (resurface, level patch, plane, guardrail end anchors and permanent traffic stripe), and Alabama 25/53 (U.S. 231) from Alabama 38 (U.S. 280) to the St. Clair County line (resurface, plane, traffic stripe, leveling and patching).