Highway 119 widening entering next phase

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The survey work on a project to widen Alabama 119 in Alabaster to five lanes south of its intersection with Fulton Springs Road is complete, and likely will begin the right-of-way acquisition phase in early 2018, according city leaders.

Alabaster City Manager Brian Binzer gave City Council members an update on the project during a Sept. 21 work session, which came about five months after the council voted to approve a $325,076 engineering fee for the Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood engineering firm to begin designing the widening project.

“It’s being designed now, and they have done the survey work on that corridor,” Binzer said. “They know what they will have to get as far as right-of-way.”

The engineering company is now finalizing displays exhibiting how much right-of-way will have to be purchased to allow the project to commence, and is preparing to meet with the Alabama Department of Transportation to share the plans.

“ALDOT has to make a decision the first of next year on what they will have to do to get right-of-way,” Binzer said. “Depending on how that process plays out, they will spend most of next year on right-of-way acquisition, and then hopefully break ground that next year.

“That’s kind of a best-case scenario. We’ve got 30-plus properties to work through, and we can’t start construction until we have all the properties in hand,” Binzer added.

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.

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.