City gets $8.5M for South Three Notch

Published 1:40 am Tuesday, February 5, 2013

There will be more than $17 million in road and bridge improvement projects in Covington County, thanks in large part to ATRIP funding announced Monday by Gov. Robert Bentley.

The Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP), funded with a state bond issue, provides matching funds for road and bridge projects across the state. Nine of the 302 projects announced are in Covington County, and include a new bridge, seven resurfacing projects and one major improvement project in Andalusia.

Andalusia will receive the lion’s share of the $13.6 million in bond funds announced Monday.

The almost $8.6 million awarded to the city will require a local match of $2.1 million and will be used to bring South Three Notch Street to the standards of East Three Notch and River Falls streets, complete with underground utilities, new sidewalks, and decorative lighting.

Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson was traveling when contacted with the news.

“Fantastic!” he said.

He said he and others worked hard to convince the state highway director and the governor’s office to fund the project. Both visited Andalusia to look at the project, he said. He also expressed his appreciation to Rep. Mike Jones.

Now the city must put together $2.1 million in local funds for the project.

“We’ve got to,” the mayor said. “This is $8 from the state for every $2 we spend, when normally, the best you can hope for is a dollar-for-dollar match. We won’t likely see this again in our lifetimes.

“You’ve got to hit while the iron is hot,” he said. “This is one of the situations we can’t afford to walk away from.”

Other Covington County projects announced Monday were:

• $156,600 to resurface County Road 45 from Andalusia city limits;

• $2.3 million to resurface County Road 42 (Airport Road) from Andalusia to Brooklyn;

• $757,700 to resurface County Road 4 to the Geneva county line;

• $257,000 for a new bridge on County Road 25 over Eden Creek;

• $430,000 to resurface County Road 73;

• $718,600 to resurface County Road 42 from U.S. Hwy. 84 to County Road 77;

• $523,600 to resurface County Road 42 from Country Road 77 to Opp city limits.

“It’s a great day for Covington County,” said county engineer Darren Capps. Each of the county’s submitted road projects – which equated to 34.4 miles of roadway – was funded, he said.

“These are some of the county’s worst roads that are in very bad need of resurfacing,” he said.

Opp was awarded $606,200 to resurface West Cummings Avenue from Main Street to U.S. Hwy. 84.

City planner Jason Bryan said the more than five miles of roadway has been a problem “for years.”

“We’re proud of this award,” Bryan said. “It’s wonderful news. This section of highway has been a major problem in town that’s needed to be addressed for years.”

This was the third round of funding announced, bringing the total projects funded to 439. At least one additional round of ATRIP funding is scheduled. Eligible projects not selected in previous funding rounds are once again eligible to be submitted. Deadline for submitting applications for the next round of funding is May 31, and Capps said he plans to submit plans for other projects.