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Highway project included in bill

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
A $1.3 million grant for Phase II of the proposed North Hartselle bypass is included in the six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill, according Congressman Bud Cramer, D-Alabama.
This phase of the project provides for the extension and widening of Highway 36 from I-65 to Roan Road. Phase I is currently under way. It involves the replacement of the old Hammitt Street railroad bridge and construction of a roadway to connect Longhorn Pass to Georgia Street.
The money was earmarked by action of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, of which Rep. Cramer and Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama, are members. The bill has to be approved by the full House of Representatives and is scheduled to be considered this week.
At the same time, the appropriations committee approved $7 million for the extension of I-565 towards Decatur.
"I am pleased to work with Representative Aderholt on these high priority projects which are vital for both the safety of travelers and the economic development of the area," Cramer said. ""I look forward to working with my colleagues for this bill's passage in the whole house."
"This is good news for Hartselle," Mayor Dwight Tankersley said. "I'm excited and pleased that we have made this step toward the total project. "I see this as a boost in our efforts to promote commercial development in that area."
When asked if he thought the announcement would encourage business owner there who are outside of the city to annex, he said, "I hope so. I plan to meet with them and encourage them to do that."
Tankersley said Phase I is currently in the design and engineering stage.
"We have received state approval on 30 percent of the planning," he said. "We are now waiting for a date from the state to review the remainder of the plans."
The estimated cost of Phase II is $4.1 million. Of this amount, $400,000 is designated for engineering, $1.04 million for right-of-way acquisition, $500,000 for utilities relocation and $2.1 million for construction.
Phase III of the bypass extends from Vaughan Bridge Road to Highway 31, North, and from Highway 31, North, to North Sparkman Street, via Longhorn Pass. Phase IV extends from the intersection of Hammitt and Georgia Streets to Bethel Street, from Bethel Street to Bethel Road and from Bethel Road to Roan Road. The scope of work includes both improvements to existing roadways and construction of new roadways.
Tankersley said the target date for Phase II design and engineering to begin is 2006.