A new exit ramp leading to Toyota Field will be open before the Rocket City Trash Pandas' home opener on May 11.
Thursday afternoon, the spokesman for Breland Companies, Joey Ceci, said they have completed all the items on the checklist given to them from the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT). Once ALDOT gives its stamp of approval, the ramp could be open as soon as sometime next week.
“They’ll review the progress and make sure that we’ve completed those items to their satisfaction, and then, really the rest of the process really becomes more of a legal process," said Ceci.
Breland Companies built the ramp to Interstate 565 on Town Madison Boulevard in Madison. They had to add a stoplight and add lines to the roads, along with other requirements, before it can be open for travel.
Ceci said the ramp will become state property once ALDOT approves everything.
“All of the land associated with the interchange [is] being donated to the state, so that kind of deed and transfer has to be completed with the lawyers," he said.
At the end of January, the owner of the Trash Pandas, Ralph Nelson, went before the Madison City Council about the need to open the ramp by the team's May 11 home opener. Shortly after, Mayor Paul Finley wrote a letter to Gov. Kay Ivey, and she gave it the green light.
“Our efforts, my efforts, were able to make it happen and expedite things," said Nelson. "At the end of the day, I wasn’t doing it for me or for the Trash Pandas. I was doing it for our fans and our citizens.”
Nelson said it's been a long journey getting here, but he's glad the ramp will be open by their home opener.