Photo by Jeff Thompson
Chapel Lane extension bridge
One of the final steps in preparing the Chapel Lane extension is adding gutters under I-459 that will prevent water from draining onto the new road.
The City of Hoover opened the Chapel Lane extension on Nov. 28 — just in time for the holiday shopping season.
As part of a plan to ease congestion around the Riverchase Galleria and Patton Creek Shopping Center, the extension was designed to give residents of Bluff Park and Patton Chapel neighborhoods access to these areas without using U.S. 31.
According to a release, the extension is predicted to handle 8,000-10,000 vehicles per day meaning thousands of fewer cars on the highway.
The extension connects Al Sier Road and Galleria Boulevard. The City of Hoover partnered with the Alabama Department of Transportation to begin work in August, 2011. There was a high complexity of work due to the relocation of sewer lines and utilities under the existing interstate as well as a sensitive waterway. Sain Associates Engineers served as the design team, RR Dawson Bridge were the general contractors and Neel-Schaffer, Inc. handled construction inspection of the $7.5 million project.
“This going to be a huge congestion relief not only for the holidays but also for our everyday traffic,” Mayor Gary Ivey 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.