0813 us 31 project
Hoover’s widening project on U.S. 31 from I-459 to Data Drive has been delayed so construction won’t occur during holiday shopping season.
Holiday shoppers hoping for an easier path to the Riverchase Galleria this year will have to put on their brakes. The City of Hoover announced in June that the widening project on U.S. Highway 31 has been postponed.
According to a letter sent by ALDOT Division 3 Engineer Brian Davis to the City in June, the current schedule for the project put its completion date beyond Christmas 2013 – something Hoover specifically requested to avoid if possible.
“We had made it very clear we didn’t want construction going on during Christmas,” Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey said. “ALDOT sent the letter after meeting with our staff to confirm that if it wasn’t going to be complete by the holiday shopping season, we needed to move it.”
Currently, the project is slated to add a full lane traveling each direction between the I-459 overpass and Data Drive south of Chace Lake – a distance of approximately a mile and a half.
To assist drivers travelling north, a full turn lane will be constructed at the I-459 interchange for drivers intending to go west on the interstate toward Tuscaloosa. This is intended to reduce the bottleneck that sometimes spills onto the highway and impedes traffic flow.
Ivey said the project was expanded since it was first announced in 2012, and in his letter Davis indicated plans were finalized in June 2013. Davis wrote that the project could have been let in July.
“If the projects are let to contract on July 26, the soonest that the contractor could start to work is in September, and the work would then extend into November and December,” Davis’ letter reads. “Due to the amount of work that is to be performed in the contract, we would not anticipate that the contractor could complete work before Christmas.”
The new plan – approved by the Hoover City Council in July – is to delay the letting until Dec. 6. Davis indicated this would place the start date for construction around April 1, 2014. Based on his timeline, the project could be completed before the 2014 school year begins.
Hoover’s financial contribution to the widening project will be capped at $500,000, Ivey said – reflecting a 50 percent match with the State of Alabama up to $1 million. Any excess will be covered by the State.
The project is designed to travel through the intersection of U.S. 31 and Alabama 150, which Ivey said is one of the busiest in the city. Currently at that intersection, a Walgreen’s is being constructed that the company anticipates opening before the holiday shopping season.
Regarding other road projects in the City, Ivey said he recently drove across the new connection from Patton Chapel Road to Patton Creek Shopping Center. Much of the surface is still dirt and is impassable for many vehicles he said, but progress on the project has been consistent and he anticipates it to open before Labor Day.