Photo by Jeff Thompson
Chapel Lane extension podium 2
During a press conference Oct. 15, Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey announces that the Chapel Lane Lane extension will officially open on Nov. 22. He is joined by State Rep. Paul DeMarco and Hoover City Council Members John Lyda and Gene Smith.
Six months ago, engineers working on the Chapel Lane extension project noticed something that needed attention.
An I-459 bridge that crosses over Hoover’s newest road is lined with 4-inch, circular holes that cut through the concrete. These openings, designed to drain water off the interstate, deposit straight down onto Chapel Lane.
“We got to thinking about someone going down [Chapel Lane] at 40 miles-per-hour and having that drop on their windshield,” City of Hoover Executive Director Allen Pate said.
So, the project that began in August 2011 required just one more month as the City worked with the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) on a plan to correct the issue. According to Tim Westhoven, assistant executive director for the City, a gutter system to drain the water away from Chapel Lane will arrive in two weeks and is projected to require two weeks to install.
And with a press conference Oct. 15, Hoover set itself an approximately five-week window to have it all ready to go. The City plans to open the Chapel Lane extension on Friday, Nov. 22.
“We’re pleased to announce we’re going to open the road on Nov. 22, the Friday before Black Friday, to get the shopping season kicked off,” Mayor Gary Ivey said during a press conference held where the extension connects to the Patton Creek shopping center.
Ivey said the extension would ease traffic coming off Patton Chapel Road onto U.S. 31. In addition, the road would serve residents in Bluff Park and surrounding areas by providing an easy route to I-459 and Alabama Highway 150.
“This going to be a huge congestion relief not only for the holidays but also for our everyday traffic,” he said.
In addition, Ivey said opening the extension is significant, as the City’s project to widen U.S. 31 has been delayed. That project is slated to add a full lane traveling each direction between the I-459 overpass and Data Drive south of Chace Lake. ALDOT informed the City over the summer that it wouldn’t be able to complete construction before the holiday shopping season, so the Council agreed to postpone the work until spring 2014.
“Getting [the Chapel Lane extension] done is going to give us about as much relief as that was going to," Ivey said.
Though the current administration began the project in 2011, the idea originated during the term of former Mayor Tony Petelos. Hoover City Council Member John Lyda said Petelos thought it was the most important road project for the city in 2005, and for this administration the extension maintained that ranking.
“For the last eight years, this has been the No. 1 road project,” Lyda said. “It means so much to Bluff Park and Green Valley residents because it gives those residents a way to avoid Highway 31 congestion and still be at the state’s main shopping district in minutes.”
Construction for the two-year project was approximately $5 million, with ALDOT covering 80 percent of the cost and Hoover picking up the remaining 20. Ivey said the City also received assistance from Jefferson County in obtaining land. The extension required serious utility relocation involving sanitary sewers in the area, Westhoven said. He added it will be completed along the timeline proposed in 2011.
Paving will continue on both the north and south sides of the extension’s bridge as the grand opening approaches. The City will hold the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. on Nov. 22 in front of Rooms-To-Go in Patton Creek.