Highway 26 to see safety improvements

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Shelby County Highway Department will be able to make some safety upgrades to a high-risk stretch of roadway between Alabaster and Columbiana thanks to a recently awarded grant.

During its March 11 meeting, the Shelby County Commission voted to approve the $75,000 grant through the High-risk Rural Road Program and matching funds totaling $7,500.

Shelby County Engineer Randy Cole said the project will affect the portion of the road from Walker Run in Alabaster to Alabama 70 in Columbiana, and will include clearing some trees from the right-of-way to improve visibility, scoring the outer edges of the road and improving striping on the road’s surface.

A stipulation of the grant required the funds to be used outside of an “urban boundary,” and only required a 10-percent funding match rather than the 20-percent match most similar grants require.

“There is an urban boundary that is established, and a lot of times it’s established just for funding purposes. We recognized an opportunity to receive some funds, but you could not use them inside the urban boundary,” Cole said. “We looked, and found a place where we had a higher-than-normal accident occurrence on County Road 26 outside the urban boundary. They looked at our accident data and concurred with our recommendation, and they are going to grant us a project worth $75,000, and it only has a 10-percent match.”

Cole said the project’s goal is to cut down on the number and severity of wrecks on the  two-lane roadway, which serves as the main thoroughfare from Alabaster to Columbiana.