Six months ago, the council applied for a grant with the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP), an initiative giving $300 million worth of funds to go toward roadway projects throughout the state.
The project was approved, and with the ATRIP grant’s 80/20 matching ratio, Jasper officials were set to pay around $130,000 to resurface the roadway, with a total cost of $650,000.
Keith Strickland, a representative of the Birmingham firm hired to oversee the repaving project, said the new requirements will put the project at approximately $1.5 million, with the city’s share at $300,000.
Strickland said the costs for the project have increased because officials with the Alabama Department of Transportation want Walston Bridge Road to meet new federal guidelines.
Strickland said those requirements include widening the lanes from 10 feet to 12 feet and making the shoulder of the roadway at least 3 feet wide.
Despite the added expense, Strickland told the council the new guidelines will mean a safer roadway for residents, and ATRIP’s matching funds will include those additions.
Council member Gary Cowen asked Strickland if the city will lose all of the grant funding if it does not agree to the new changes.
“So, the Department of Transportation has said if you don’t bring it up to what they consider new, safe standards, forget the whole thing?” he asked.
“Exactly,” Strickland replied.
The council also approved another application for the same ATRIP grant program. It will fund the repaving of a two-mile section of Old Birmingham Highway, from Industrial Boulevard to Birmingham Avenue.
The total cost of the project will be approximately $730,000, with the city’s match being $146,000.
The repaving of Old Birmingham Highway was initially the first City of Jasper project considered for ATRIP funding. However, the council chose to go with the roadway with the most traffic for the first application, which was Walston Bridge Road.
The second round of applications for ATRIP funding also includes a project to widen Airport Road into a three-lane roadway from The Trace to Ridgewood Road. Officials estimate the total project to cost around $4 million. However, the city does have about $2.7 million in federal funds earmarked for improving each of the intersections along Airport Road.
City officials also plan on applying for grants in January to repave sections of 3rd Avenue and 9th Avenue.
In other business, the council:
•Approved the resurfacing of Alabama Highway 269 from 2.4 miles south of County Road 22 to Alabama Highway 69.
•Heard from Jasper Fire Chief Calvin Kluesner, who announced that the department is still selling T-shirts to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama.
He added that the department can fill large orders for groups that want to sell the T-shirts on their own or at community events.
For more information about the program, contact Kluesner at 205-221-8510.