I-65 widening project beginning construction

 

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

A pair of companies are set to break ground this week on a project to widen Interstate 65 between Alabaster and Pelham and likely will have the new travel lanes open to motorists by next year, city officials announced during a recent meeting.

During a Jan. 4 City Council work session, Alabaster Manager Brian Binzer said the city had a pre-construction meeting with the Alabama Department of Transportation earlier the same day, and said contractors Dunn Construction and Wiregrass Construction were set to break ground on the project “within a week.”

The announcement came a little more than a month after ALDOT awarded a joint bid to the two companies to widen I-65 to six lanes between exit 242 in Pelham and exit 238 in Alabaster.

The project, which is on ALDOT’s 2018 fiscal year budget, must be completed by July 31, 2020, according to bid documents, but Binzer said plans call for the new travel lanes to be open in 2019.

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 2017, 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.

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