UPDATE (Jan. 20): Due to the potential threat of rain, the location for the Exit 305 Ribbon Cutting Ceremony has been moved indoors to Topre America Corporation (1580 County Road 222).
GOOD HOPE – The long-awaited opening of Good Hope’s new I-65 interchange at County Road 222, a $10-million-dollar project, will take place on Friday, Jan. 22 at 9 a.m. The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) will open the new exit, number 305, to traffic after a ribbon-cutting ceremony sponsored by the City of Cullman, the City of Good Hope, the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce and the Cullman County Commission.
County residents have waited more than 10 years for the new exit, which is expected to ease traffic congestion and encourage economic development in the area, including restaurants and stores.
Rep. Corey Harbison, R-Good Hope, said yesterday, “I am proud to announce that the new interchange at I-65 and County Road 222 is scheduled to open sometime on Jan.22. I can't take credit for this project, but I'm proud to be a part of it. I would like to thank all of the people that worked so hard over the past 15 or so years to get to this day! I think that this will be an asset for Cullman County and open many doors for business and job growth.”
The interchange has other benefits as well.
Assistant Chief of the Bethsadia Volunteer Fire Department, Maurice Reynolds, said, “This will be a tremendous help for our department as we will no longer have to go all the way to Good Hope to turn around to catch calls south of U.S. 278, but on the northbound side of the interstate.”
Reynolds says that Bethsadia’s Station One is only a couple of miles from the new exit, meaning the response times from that location could be cut in half.
“Last night (Tuesday), we responded to a wreck on I-65, and it took us 10-15 minutes to get there. With this new interchange, we could make that in 5-7 minutes,” he said.
Dale Greer, assistant director of the Cullman Economic Development Agency, said that the Cullman Chamber of Commerce, the City of Good Hope and the City of Cullman all partnered on the community match, which was $2 million dollars.
“When community leaders work together and have the support of the local legislative delegation, there is greater potential for the state to invest dollars in infrastructure projects like the new interchange at County Road 222. I am convinced our partnership made this interchange a reality,” said Greer.
Harbison added, “I think it will open up the door for a lot more commercial property. It will help with access to Smith Lake. I think it will help relieve some of the traffic congestion at the 304 (exit). I am proud to be a part of this. I don't think any one person deserves credit, but rather a lot of people over the years.”