Op-Ed: Road and bridge projects

Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Fairview (Cullman Tribune file photo)

It’s important for everyone to understand the process for road and bridge projects.

First of all, please understand that legislators do not vote to do specific projects. We compete with every other legislator in the state for the same state funding for projects in our area.

Our job is to try to develop a strategy and get in a position to convince the agency in charge (usually ALDOT) to fund and approve projects for our areas.

Secondly, road and bridge projects take a while from idea to construction to completion.

It took me five years to get the turn lane on Highway 69 at Gold Ridge Road, but I very much appreciate ALDOT Director John Cooper sticking it out with me on it!

Once funding is approved, right-of-way, utility relocation, etc. takes a lot of time even before construction can begin.

When I ran for the Legislature in 2013, I promised to stay focused on local projects.

Every project I listed as a goal in my 2013 legislative campaign has been accomplished, with the exception of Highway 278, and we continue to work on it.

Returning your tax dollars from Montgomery for projects that benefit the public in my legislative district is a part of my job I take very seriously.

I appreciate my legislative colleagues in the four counties I represent working closely with me in a team effort to secure funding and project approvals.

The following projects in or impacting my district are already underway or announced to begin this coming year:

Blount County

  • $430,000 for resurfacing roads north of Blountsville and east of Holly Pond
  • $10.4 million bridge project on AL Highway 79 over Blackburn Fork. Currently in preliminary engineering and R.O.W. acquisition with construction expected in 2023
  • $3.2 million – Cleveland, safety improvement project at intersection of AL Highway 79 and AL Highway 160

Cullman County

  • $25 million – Construction to begin Spring of 2020 to four lane Alabama Highway 157 from AL Highway 69 past Cullman Regional Medical Center to U.S. Highway 31
  • $8.8 million – New bridge on U.S. Highway 278 just west of Berlin to replace the old bridge that had deficiency concerns
  • $1.64 million – New Canaan for widening and resurfacing U.S. Highway 231 from Blount County line to Marshall County line
  • $418,700 – Providence Community for resurfacing County Road 1435 (Paid by new Rebuild Alabama Fund)
  • $188,000 – Intersection/traffic light signal at Hutch Restaurant in Fairview at AL Highway 69 and Wesley Avenue (Paid by new Rebuild Alabama Fund)

Morgan County

  • Almost $1 million of projects are approved for my legislative district in Morgan County this coming year (Paid by the new Rebuild Alabama Fund):
  • $400,000 – Hulaco Road, bridge replacement west of Hulaco
  • $236,485 – Hulaco Road, widen and resurface from AL Highway 67 to Marshall County line
  • $236,485 – Eva, for resurfacing Union Hill Church Road

Soon after the first of the year, I expect Governor Ivey will be announcing more Road/Bridge projects in my legislative district.

Immediate goals

Below are some of the road and bridge projects my local legislative colleagues and I are working on for funding and approval in my district paid from the new Rebuild Alabama Fund and other funds. I expect numerous projects will be announced within the next 24 months:

  • Local road and bridge projects, in all four counties in my legislative district including municipal projects in Hanceville, Eva and others.
  • State Highway and bridge projects in my district in Blount and Cullman Counties
  • Turn lanes in multiple locations, including AL Highway 69 from East Point to Arab (beginning with a turn lane project at the intersection of AL 69 and County Road 747 at Simcoe)
  • Passing lanes added on AL Highway 69 from East Point to Arab (Currently looking at suitable site locations)

Long-term goals

I will stay focused on the following projects working closely with my local legislative colleagues as long as I’m in the legislature. Some are attainable relatively soon. Some will require projects in segments over time due to the sheer size and scope of the projects:

  • Replace 77-year-old St. Bernard Bridge
  • Four lane U.S. Highway 278 from east downtown Cullman to the intersection of AL Highway 157 at East Point
  • Four lane U.S. Highway 278 from east of Berlin in Cullman County to Snead in Blount County
  • Improvements to AL Highway 79 to Birmingham (A route used by residents in my district driving to work in Birmingham).

Traffic congestion in these areas will only going to get worse. I’m doing all I can to address these transportation projects.

I appreciate Governor Ivey and her team working closely with my legislative colleagues and me to improve our transportation needs.

Thank y’all for letting me represent you in Montgomery!

Randall Shedd

District 11, Alabama

House of Representatives

Cellular & Text 256.531.6641

Email randallshedd@icloud.com