County Commission hears update on Pelham, Calera railroad overpasses

Published 8:58 pm Monday, June 12, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – The Shelby County Commission heard an update regarding the planned railroad overpass projects for Pelham and Calera during a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, June 12.

During the commission meeting, County Engineer David Willingham provided the commission with updates regarding the timeline and funding for Pelham and Calera’s planned railroad overpasses.

Pelham and Calera were both recently awarded grants on June 5 to help relieve problems related to railroad crossings along the western side of Shelby County.

Pelham’s grant was the largest in the nation awarded under the Federal Railroad Administration’s Railroad Crossing Elimination Program and totals $41,766,038 to help eliminate two railroad crossings.

“County Road 52 in Pelham—that’s a heavy, heavy corridor, and those tracks have been a challenge for a long time,” Willingham said. “That’s a huge win for Pelham, and I commend them for going after that grant.”

Calera’s grant, while not as large, will also eliminate two railroad crossings in the city. The grant totaled $11,742,184 and will alleviate congestion at two different downtown crossings.

“This not only addresses the railroad crossing problem, but it addresses what has been on the books for years— the capacity between U.S. 31 and (Interstate) 65,” Willingham said. “It also addresses that issue and the replacement of the U.S. 31 bridge. It addresses several problems in that area. This is a huge win. It was a long shot, so this was really quite a victory for Pelham and for our county as well.”

Since the projects are federally funded, they will have to go through the federal process, Willingham said.

“Between these two projects, and we can get the I-65 expansion, you’re talking about three major projects on the I-65 corridor,” County Manager Chad Scroggins said. “We’re talking about major improvements to the I-65 corridor and to our residents as they got off of the I-65 corridor. Both the city of Calera and Pelham should be commended for their work.”

Willingham also provided the commission with an update on the I-65 expansion project.

“Our staff met with ADLOT for a couple of hours last Thursday to look at how to get this moving and how to set this project up to make it success as well,” Willingham. “We continue those meetings and continue pushing on that effort as well.”

In other news, the Shelby County Commission approved the following items:

  • A bid award for a 4-door mid-size sedan to Toyota Hoover
  • A bid award for a 4-door crossover SUV
  • A bid for a 4-door SUV to Stokes Automotive
  • A bid to Vector Supplies for Larvacide Briquetts
  • A bid for the annual Guardrail Safety Project to Alabama Guardrail, Inc. in the amount of $66,330.