Helena Magazine

A weekly update from Helena Mayor Brian Puckett

Published 4:59 pm Tuesday, April 19, 2022

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I hope that everyone had a joyful and blessed Easter this past weekend and have started the year long egg hunt for those elusive eggs that could not be found on Sunday.

This week I would like to give you all an update on where we as a city stand on ongoing road projects.  We all know that there are two major traffic backups each day during school drop off and then again after work, and the leaders of the city are making incremental and strategic moves to make the most out of what can be done.  I am extremely fortunate to have City Council members who are willing to match dollars (plus extra) so we can make the most of our road infrastructure.

Partnerships are the absolute key in our city with the road infrastructure due to the main arteries being either state or county roads. I want to thank the County for the new Cahaba River bridge that they are finishing up right now. This bridge cost almost $7million to construct.

Enough of the rambling and let’s get down to projects that are in flight and where they stand.  The first project is the Pavement Management Plan.  This is a contract that we entered into with an engineering firm that is currently assessing every single road maintained by the city and giving them a fancy grading.  They will then provide us a five-year plan to update and maintain properly every road that we have.  This plan will allow us to maximize our output in the most fiscally responsible way. The Pavement Management Plan should be delivered to us within the next couple months in preparation of the fiscal year budget.

The second project is the Highway 17 right turn lane onto Highway 58. These are both county roads, but we think it is necessary to take on at an estimated cost of $250,000 for the city.  I have continued to apply for various state grants for this project, and I will continue to do so. The current grant applied for is the Rebuild Alabama Act grant. The county signed off on us doing this project, and currently we are in the utility relocation assessment phase. I truly hope that this addition can be done this summer to reduce the headache for school traffic.

The third project is the Elementary Intersection/261 Lane Gain Project.  Former Mayor Hall was able to get this project going with the improvement to the intersection in front of the Elementary School. In the last year, we have worked with ALDOT to expand this project to also include an extra lane down Highway 261 to the commercial intersection along with sidewalks. I am happy to say that we have been able to secure grants and other alternative funding methods to pay for all but $287,000, which the city will pay.  This project will cost $5.9 million overall. We currently are in the final design and environmental study phase with right of way purchasing beginning in the next month or so.

The fourth project is the Highway 52/93 Traffic Light.  This project is being fully managed and funded by Shelby County.  The County Commission has approved to spend $217,650 for this new light that will help break up some of the traffic going down Highway 52. This light will be the first in the county that will have a built-in radar technology that will extend the light when needed. The footings for the poles have been poured and we are waiting for the rest of the material to come in.

The fifth project is the Highway 261 Widening.  This project includes us, Hoover, Pelham, Shelby County and ALDOT. This $40 million project will include four lanes from Bearden Road all the way to Highway 31 in Hoover. Helena has the least amount of road out of the municipalities, but the benefit will be great with being able to give a wider way to get out of the city.  The city has committed to fund $675,000 to the project.

I know this was a long letter this week, and I promise they will not always be like this but I felt the road infrastructure projects needed to be updated for everyone. Outside of “keeping the lights on” for road maintenance we are working hard for you as citizens to make our city the best. $43.4 million of capital projects for road infrastructure is in flight with spending only $1.2 million of our money.  Partnerships are paying big for us as we move forward.  I hope that everyone has a great rest of this week and enjoy the sun this weekend as warmer weather is coming in.

Together As One,