The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

January 20, 2013

Federal funds may be near for road, bridge projects

By Kim West

— County roadway and bridge projects might receive an infusion of federal funds as additional ATRIP allocations will be announced in the coming weeks.

Limestone County received nearly $1.2 million from ATRIP, or the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, when Gov. Robert Bentley announced the initial round of funding in May 2012.

ATRIP is a federal highway aid program that provides up to 80 percent of the construction of high-priority road projects, according to the Alabama Department of Transportation. Local sponsors are expected to contribute at least 20 percent of the project construction cost, including surveying, design, environmental analysis and right-of-way acquisition expenses.

The first-round ATRIP money included $380,000 for a bridge project on Mooresville Road over French’s Mill Creek. The city of Athens received nearly $780,000 to resurface Lucas Ferry and Sanderfer roads from Alabama 99 to U.S. 31.

ALDOT serves as the administrator for the ATRIP funds, which will be distributed in three phases. County Engineer Richard Sanders expects second-round funding to be announced by early February.

The county has applied for nearly $2.4 million in ATRIP funding for several projects with a local match funding of $886,800, including a joint project with Athens to improve the Tanner Crossroads intersection at Huntsville-Browns Ferry Road and U.S. 31.

During his 2012 state of the county address, Commission Chairman Stanley Menefee said the funds would allow the county to improve infrastructure and traffic flow at the busy intersection located on the southern outskirts of Athens.

“It’s a joint project with the city, and it allows you to get on and off (Interstate) 65 and help take traffic off (U.S.) 72,” Menefee said. “And it helps with school and industry traffic.

“The ATRIP money will improve our roads and bridges tremendously, and we have several bridges that need to be replaced.”

Second-round projects submitted by the county include replacing a pair of bridges on Ragsdale Creek Road and one bridge on Lucas Ferry Road over Mud Creek and resurfacing Nick Davis Road from Mooresville Road to Sanderson Road and resurfacing Elk River Mills Road from Baker Hill Road to Alabama 99.

The town of Elkmont has applied for a project to resurface Upper Fort Hampton Road from Alabama 127 to Sandlin Road with $325,600 in ATRIP funding and a local match of $81,400.

The deadline to apply for the third round of ATRIP funding is May 31.