Roadwork progressing on schedule

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 29, 2004

Right now it may seem "dirty," but state construction work for a strip of Highway 84, which stretches from Andalusia to Coffee County, may be four-laned in a year's time, according to Bill Wofford, district engineer for the Alabama Department of Transportation.

"The four-laning between Andalusia and Enterprise is underway," Wofford said.

Currently there are 43 DOT road construction projects in Alabama. There are 9 divisions which hold those projects, and within those divisions a number of districts.

Wofford said his district ends at the Coffee County line, but there are two main projects in the works within the district. Five sections make up those projects, he added.

Typically, winter months are slower in construction work than other months, because of the weather, but there are still deadlines for the work to be completed.

"Construction slows down in the winter, because of cold and wet weather," Wofford said. "The drainage and concrete can not be worked on in freezing weather."

The slow down is not significant, and Wofford added there is still "a set number of days in which to complete a contract."

Wofford said the "bad weather" days don't count against state workers, either.

"There are five sections which need to be four-laned," he said.

The sections which Wofford oversees on Hwy. 84 are as follows: Andalusia to Sanford, Babbie to Opp, and Opp to Fleeta (Road).

Wofford added some of the sections are in Coffee County, outside of his district. But progress on his sections, and those across the county line, is steady.

"There are four sections that are either finished or complete," Wofford said. "The section of the Opp Bypass to Fleeta Road is completed for drainage and dirt work. The paving (of the section) will be let with a contract within a year."

Wofford added the set time is not definite, but he expects a year is sufficient time for the bidding-out of the construction project.

"The target is within a year, but that is subject to change," he said.

The other two sections are also either ready for bidding of paving to be done, or close to it.

"The actual construction will actually be 30-60 days after the letting of the contracts (on all three of my sections)," Wofford said.

According to Wofford, the costs of the sections vary, as there will be a couple of new bridges built in the Andalusia-Sanford section

The cost of the bridges for that section will be approximately $1.5 million, and the road work will be $4 million.

"We'll have two bridges - one on the edge of town (Andalusia), and the other in Sanford," he said.

Wofford said the Andalusia-Sanford project is approximately 20 percent complete, and the section stretches three-and-a-half miles. The bridge in Sanford will be about 7 feet higher than the one it will replace.

The only section that hasn't been let to contract for paving work is the Babbie-Opp stretch, which will cover approximately three miles.

"Paving contracts will be let later this year or early next year," he said.

Wofford said the contracts will be awarded to the lowest bidder.

It will cost $3.5 million, and is about 90 percent complete, added Wofford.

The Opp-Fleeta section has four miles complete.

Approximately 80 percent of the funding for the project is federal, with a matching 20 percent of state funds.