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Huntsville is growing and its 'infrastructure' is keeping up with the changes

Huntsville is growing and the infrastructure in the city is becoming more substantial. Here's what you need to know about it.
Credit: WZDX

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Now, while you may not always use the word infrastructure, examples are all around us here in the city. From the buildings you see going up in Mid-City to the orange traffic cones you pass on the way to work; these are all signs of what infrastructure.

 Infrastructure is defined as the basic physical systems of a business, region, or nation and often involves the production of public goods or production processes.

Shane Davis, Director of Urban and Economic Development for the City of Huntsville says most people normally associate infrastructure with two things:

"I think when people think infrastructure for a city, there's two, two words that come to mind, if you will, utilities and roads," Davis stated. " You know, certainly with Huntsville's growth, we're investing a lot in both of those. Mainly roads for, for example, since the last five years, about $300 million worth of roads have been completed or under construction. Going forward for Huntsville, you know, to keep up with the growth, we're approaching almost $1,000,000,000 worth of road infrastructure just in Huntsville, the metro area."

One concern is expanding roadways. With more people moving into once low populated areas, traffic is inevitable, but Davis says there is a plan to address this concern.

" We take into consideration a lot of things," Davis states. "Most importantly are traffic counts. We start looking at areas that we see, you know, one vehicle per day that's traveling that corridor, how it is increasing, is it decreasing. We also track development where development is occurring, whether that be residential, commercial or industrial. We start to take that existing traffic count, start modeling the future, you know, based on the growth that's happening in those areas."

Current/Completed Roadway Projects:

Martin Road Improvements Phase 1:

The project is substantially complete, and all lanes are open to traffic. Punch-list work is ongoing and should be completed by the end of the year.

Martin Road Improvements Phase II:

Design is approximately 90% complete. The right of way acquisition is complete. Funding for utility relocations was authorized by ALDOT in June 2020. Each utility company will be responsible for designing and performing relocations in conflict with the roadway project.

Roadway construction will start upon the completion of sewer, electrical, fiber and gas relocations. Madison Sewer has recently relocated a sewer line on the south side of the road. Electric and gas relocations are currently under design.

Other utility relocations (water and COH sanitary sewer) are anticipated to be included in the roadway project scope. The roadway construction will be performed with a detour route in place for motorists to use Trademark Drive to maintain two-way traffic during construction, which is anticipated to begin 2023 or as funding is allocated. This roadway construction project duration is estimated to be 18 months.

Greenbrier Parkway:

The road is complete to Mooresville Road. Phase 4B (west of Mooresville Road to Huntsville-Browns Ferry Road) is complete. This phase was opened to traffic on June 1. The fifth and final phase (widening Huntsville-Browns Ferry Road to I-65) is under construction and is approximately 70% complete.

Northern Bypass (West of Memorial Parkway):

The design and right-of-way acquisition are approximately 95% complete for the project.

The City approved a funding agreement Dec. 16, 2021, to use Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) funds for utility relocations as part of the future Northern Bypass. The estimated cost of the relocations is $7 million.

The funding consists of 80% federal funds with a 20% local match. These funds, along with the $30 million approved at the Dec. 2 City Council meeting, will allow the remaining phases of the project to move forward.

The road construction contract will be bid in early 2023, and utility relocations will be concurrent with construction. The estimated construction time is three years and will include 1 mile of road improvements along U.S. 231 (Memorial Parkway) to accommodate the new intersection.

Northern Bypass (East of Memorial Parkway):

Environmental studies are continuing.


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