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Summer travel season brings big projects on Alabama roads

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Regardless of where you travel in Alabama, the chances are good you will pass through a construction zone. As a part of the "Rebuild Alabama" initiative, tens of millions of dollars are being invested to repair, widen, and replace roads and bridges in the state.

The initiative - signed into law in 2019 uses money from Alabama's new gas tax as well as federal infrastructure dollars.

"You'll see a lot of work going on this Summer and we're excited to utilize these funds that have been made available through the gas tax and federal funds we've received - the federal program adopted last year," DeJarvis Leonard, Alabama Department of Transportation said.

If you're planning a road trip across the state this Summer or even a staycation - chances are you'll pass through a construction zone. Work is underway now on Birmingham's Red Mountain Expressway adding a barrier wall and guardrails.

The beach corridor will also see upgrades. Pavement work will soon be underway on I-65 from Highway 31 in Alabaster to the Chilton County line. Because 65 is so busy in the Summer - ALDOT will keep wreckers on standby in heavily traveled spots in case a crash happens.

A big project to watch for toward the end of this year aims to ease traffic congestion in the Trussville area. ALDOT expects to widen I-59 from the 459 interchange up to Chalkville Mountain Road. Right now the plan is in its final design phase.

"For the locals it'll be beneficial to them also to be able to get turn lanes in on some routes to avoid backups in the mornings," Leonard said.

SEE ALSO: City of Hoover, ALDOT hold public information meetings on new I-459 interchange
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Some of the money is also being directed to local governments for needed repairs.

"The biggest takeaway right now is that the locals are getting an opportunity to identify projects they need in their area and we're able to move those up," Leonard said.

Like everything else - the cost keeps rising.

"Just as prices have gone up at the grocery store - prices to pave roads have gone up also," Leonard said. "We're seeing in the Birmingham area a 20-30% increase in prices on some projects. If we had not gotten these additional funds both federally and the new gas tax we would really be hurting to maneuver and get project let to contract."

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Another project on the way: ALDOT plans to expand the split of I-59/20 and I-20 going East. As of now, drivers must merge into one lane as they pass the airport. The plan is to have two lanes to ease congestion. ALDOT plans to take bids later this year.

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