On Thursday, Huntsville leaders provided updates to major road projects, impacting thousands of drivers. Huntsville City Director of Engineering, Kathy Martin, focused on 7 major road projects and says all are running on schedule.
Cecil Ashburn Drive is the closest to completion, two lanes are set to re-open in October. The city knows drivers are frustrated with the road work, but says everything is on target.
"It's hard to reap the benefits without enduring some of the pain, congestion does not get any better so if we don't do it now, it will just be worse later," Martin said.
Growth of a city is a good thing, but Martin, says it brings challenges. Fixing roads in Huntsville is a priority and it can be seen every day. Martin says these road projects were planned years ago to prepare for the growth.
"Some of them have been in the works for a decade and now we are finally seeing them come to fruition to enhance the quality of life due to the changes happening now," Martin said.
Martin was with Mayor Tommy Battle and Alabama Department of Transportation representatives, to give updates on the road projects that impact the most people. Martin says the projects are all on schedule, whether it be in the construction phase or planning.
She tells WAAY31 there are 27 active road projects in the city. Combined, they improve 275 total lane miles, that thousands of drivers will use every day. However, it all comes with a hefty price tag, of $600 million dollars.
Martin says even bigger projects, like widening I-565 to six lanes, are next on the to-do list
"And so the fact that we've started now, looking at those major corridors will get us that much further ahead," Martin said.
The next road project to start is widening Research Park Boulevard, construction begins on Monday.
Major road projects
1.) Cecil Ashburn - On schedule to reopen with 2 lanes in October. All storm-drain installation is done. First layer of asphalt has gone down on eastbound lane.
2.) Research Park Blvd - Starts Monday. Adding additional lane in each direction. US72 and Old Madison Pike, contractor is required to leave 4 lanes open at all times from 6 AM - 8 PM for traffic purposes. Mostly night work.
Phase 2: Reconstruction of Old Madison Pike Bridge, ramp modifications at Bradford Dr and Midcity Drive. Done by 2021.
3.) North Parkway - Mastin Lake and Winchester Road (Mastin Lake overpass). Plans are 90% complete, start bidding late this year.
4.) Martin Luther King/Northern Bypass - Pulaski Pike to north parkway - Extension of 3.5 miles of 4 lane divided highway from North HSV directly to I-565. Plans are 90% done, should start next year.
5.) Zierdt Rd and Martin Road - Construction ongoing, Will double the capacity of what is there now. Zierdt Road will become 4 lane and Martin will become 5 lane with bike lanes and sidewalks. Project is 35% complete. Relieve congestion in area. Expected end date in 2021.
6.) Church St, between Pratt and Monroe st - Near 50% complete. Final girders on bridges this month, then more progress will be done roadway. New alignment into downtown HSV, will be 5 lane road with bike lanes, improve intersection with Pratt Ave.
7.) Greenbrier Prkway - 7 mile extension to connect I-565 to I-65, giving commuters alternate route, to ease congestion on I-565. Under construction.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and city officials plan to provide updates on major infrastructure projects spanning across the city of Huntsville at a news conference this morning.
Updates will include status reports on Restore Our Roads projects, major road development in key corridors of the city.
Representatives from the Alabama Department of Transportation also are expected to attend.
Watch the event here, and stay with WAAY 31 on air and WAAYTV.com online for more information.