The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 5, 2013

City, county to receive ATRIP funds

From staff reports

— Athens and Limestone County will again benefit from the latest round of road and bridge improvements as part of the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, or ATRIP.

Gov. Robert Bentley’s office announced Monday that eight local projects received approval. The projects have a total value of $4,450,003.97.

The ATRIP program gives sponsoring counties and municipalities the means to improve roads and intersections or replace bridges with only a 20 percent funding match.

The 80 percent state match comes through the use of GARVEE bonds.  With GARVEE bonds, the state is able to access future federal dollars to pay for road and bridge projects that are needed immediately.

A press release from Bentley’s office said the use of GARVEE bonds “makes strong financial sense as the low cost of borrowing is generally lower than the rising cost of inflation on construction projects.”  GARVEE bonds also allow the state to make needed improvements without raising taxes.

The 302 projects announced Monday are valued at $397.78 million.  Since ATRIP started, more than $613 million in projects have been approved.

The list below includes the project and total cost, followed by the ATRIP amount and local match:

• Lindsay Lane resurfacing from Brownsferry Road to Alabama 251 (Athens sponsors): $519,003.97; $415,203.18; $103,800.97

• Resurface Upper Fort Hampton Road from Alabama 127 to Sandlin Road (Elkmont sponsors): $407,000; $325,600; $81,400

• Bridge replacement on two bridges on Ragsdale Creek Road over Ragsdale Creek (County sponsors): $762,000; $609,600; $152,400

• Resurface Nick Davis Road from Mooresville Road to Sanderson Road (County sponsors): $869,000; $695,200; $173,800

• Bridge replacement on Lucas Ferry Road over Mud Creek (County sponsors): $522,000; $417,600; $104,400

• Intersection improvement at Huntsville-Brownsferry Road and U.S. 31 (County sponsors): $206,000; $164,800; $41,200

• Resurface Elk River Mills Road from Baker Hill Road to Alabama 99 (County sponsors): $575,000; $460,000; $115,000

• Bridge replacement on Cambridge Lane over French Mill Creek (Athens sponsors): $590,000; $472,000; $118,000

Limestone County Engineer Richard Sanders said the next step for county-sponsored projects will be to prepare plans for the Alabama Department of Transportation, which will be the agency letting bids for the projects.

He said he anticipated the projects would receive ATRIP funding, as the county submitted projects that fell within the program’s guidelines.

This is the second time Athens and Limestone County have benefited from the ATRIP program. Plans to resurface Lucas Ferry Road and Sanderfer Road from Alabama 99 to U.S. 31 were announced last May.

James Rich, director of Athens Public Works, said ALDOT opened bids for that project last week, and Keenum Construction was the lowest responsible bidder at $890,000. Reid Contracting and Wiregrass Construction also submitted bids.

“We’re pleased to see that all the projects (in Athens and Limestone County) were funded,” Rich said.

Cities and counties across the state submit local project proposals for ATRIP funding, which are then analyzed by the Alabama Department of Transportation. Eligible projects are reviewed by an advisory committee, which, in conjunction with Bentley, makes project funding decisions. 

The committee consists of ALDOT Director John Cooper, Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, Sen. Paul Bussman, R-Cullman, Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Capshaw, Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan and retired county engineers Herb Huner and Henry Hawkins.

“The ATRIP committee is working to promote needed highway construction and maintenance projects throughout Alabama,” McCutcheon said. “Governor Bentley’s leadership has been instrumental in improving our roads.  Working with the Governor and ALDOT, the ATRIP committee will continue to approve projects that will increase safety for the public and help create more economic growth and more new jobs.”