What’s the latest on the Fulton Springs extension?

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Crews with AT&T were set to begin a major phase of a project to connect Fulton Springs Road to U.S. 31 on Aug. 14, and the project is still on track to be completed this fall.

During a recent City Council work session, Alabaster City Manager Brian Binzer said AT&T was scheduled to start moving a utility pole from the property the new road will travel through.

Aug. 14 was the earliest the utility company could move the pole, because the line traveled over a nearby CSX railroad, which required AT&T to obtain a work permit from CSX before completing the move. Binzer said AT&T was required to wait 30 days from the time CSX issued the permit before starting the project.

“We are moving along and pushing the ball forward,” Binzer said. “The contractor said they will still finish up this fall.”

In early July, crews made intersection improvements at the upcoming Fulton Springs Road-U.S. 31 intersection to serve the extension of Fulton Springs Road. Curbing and foundation work for the extension have been completed, and crews have already paved a small portion of the roadway near the new intersection.

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.

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.