By Kim West
Motorists in Madison and Limestone counties will experience a less congested and smoother commute after County Line Road receives a major overhaul within the next two to three years.
The road is a widely used, six-mile stretch that divides Madison and Limestone counties, and has a bevy of potholes, bumps and ridges.
It is one of the most traveled roadways in the region, and was identified last year as the city of Madison’s “next major economic development corridor” by then-Mayor Paul Finley, who did not seek re-election in August.
Madison received $21.3 million from Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, or ATRIP. The road and bridge improvement funds were announced last July as part of a supplemental round of funding to the first phase of projects announced last May. Madison received less than $1.5 million in the first round for two projects.
The supplemental-round money will go toward three projects totaling at least $5 million apiece, including the widening of County Line Road to five lanes in Madison and Huntsville.
The total cost of the road improvement project is $7.1 million, with ATRIP providing nearly $5.7 million and a local match of slightly more than $1.4 million.
In addition to expanding County Line, the city will add new pavement, restriping and two pedestrian/cyclist paths running parallel to the busy roadway.
“This is a total County Line Road improvement, and we’re repaving and widening all the way north through to, and through, (U.S.) 72,” said Madison City Engineer Gary Chynoweth on Friday. “The city of Huntsville is participating in the project with us because they have the property in the Highway 72 location, and they will pay for that intersection.
“Within the city of Madison, we’re not only widening the road. We’re also placing two multi-use paths, with one on both sides of the road, and this will help get bicycle traffic off the road.”
Chynoweth said the asphalt paths would be built 10-feet wide to allow enough room for walkers, joggers and cyclists.
He said the tentative schedule for the project, which is currently in the design phase, includes putting out construction bids this December, with a construction start date in early 2014.
The other two ATRIP projects awarded to Madison in July include replacing the Flint River bridge on Winchester Road with a four-lane bridge and widening Winchester Road to five lanes, and widening Martin Road to four lanes from Rideout Road to the western gate of Redstone Arsenal.
ATRIP is a federal highway aid program that provides up to 80 percent of the construction of high-priority road projects, while local sponsors are expected to contribute at least 20 percent of the project construction cost.
According to the office of Gov. Robert Bentley, ATRIP is the largest road and bridge improvement program in state history. The second round of ATRIP funding will be announced in early February.