ALDOT lets bids, sets timeline for I-65 widening

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Alabama Department of Transportation let bids on a project to widen Interstate 65 from Pelham to Alabaster on Dec. 1, and has set a timeline for the project’s completion.

The project was included in the Dec. 1 ALDOT bid letting, which was the agency’s final bid date scheduled for this year. According to ALDOT documents, the Birmingham-based Dunn Construction Company and Dothan-based Wiregrass Construction Company submitted a joint bid for the project at about $67.5 million, which was the lowest of the two bids ALDOT received for the project.

ALDOT spokeswoman Linda Crockett said the agency will review the low bid before granting final approval and allowing construction to begin. The project must be completed by July 31, 2020, according to bid documents.

Construction on widening I-65 to six lanes between Pelham and Alabaster is on the Alabama Department of Transportation’s 2018 fiscal year budget, according to ALDOT five-year-plan documents.

About 80 percent of the project’s funding will come from federal sources, and about 20 percent will come from state and local sources.

In early May, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey directed ALDOT Director John Cooper to widen the about three-and-a-half-mile portion of I-65 between the tank farm exit in Pelham and the Propst Promenade exit in Alabaster.

In addition to the added travel lanes, the project also will increase shoulder space along the northbound and southbound lanes “to easily allow more lanes to be added in the future,” according to Ivey. More than 93,000 vehicles travel the section of roadway each day, with more than 12,000 of those being tractor trailers, Ivey said.

The project likely will require two years to complete, at an estimated cost of between $50 million and $60 million. The chosen contractor will be notified by February 1, 2018, with construction to begin by the end of February 2018, she said.

Cooper said the project also will position the stretch of interstate to handle growing traffic demand in the future.