Fulton Springs Road extension hinges on utility relocation
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
ALABASTER – A project to extend Fulton Springs Road from its current terminus at Old Highway 31 to U.S. 31 south of the Propst Promenade shopping center will move into its final stages after a utility company moves one of its lines from the property, according to Alabaster leaders.
The Chilton Contractors company has already laid the foundation and curbing for the road, which will provide drivers on U.S. 31 a more direct route to Alabama 119 via Fulton Springs Road.
One telecommunications utility line is still running through the property, and must be relocated before the roadway project, which is being directed by the Shelby County Highway Department, can progress further, Alabaster City Manager Brian Binzer said during a June 2 interview.
Because the utility line also crosses over the railroad adjacent to Old Highway 31, the utility company must obtain a permit from and work with the CSX railroad company to schedule the utility relocation, Binzer said.
“Once they move that utility, they will be able to continue working full-bore on the road project,” Binzer said.
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 utility line is moved, crews will pave the new section of Fulton Springs Road, conduct intersection improvements at the new Fulton Springs Road-U.S. 31 intersection created by the project and move the traffic signal from the current U.S. 31-Old Highway 31 intersection to the new U.S 31-Fulton Springs Road intersection.
“Our hope was to have this project done before school started back, but it looks like it will end up being this fall,” Binzer said.
In August 2016, the Alabaster City Council voted to accept an about $1.3 million bid from Chilton Contractors to complete the project.
The cost to the city will be offset by $185,000 in funding from the Alabama Department of Transportation and $120,000 in funding from the Shelby County Highway Department, meaning the city will pay about $995,000 on the project.
The city’s Water Department is also completing about $185,000 in improvements to the area surrounding the project.
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 currently undeveloped land between Old Highway 31 and U.S. 31.
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.
Handlon said the city’s funding for constructing the roadway extension is coming from a portion of the line of credit.