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More good news for our city

By Randy Garrison

Last week I shared good news about a new piece of equipment the City of Hartselle has purchased that will enable our Public Works folks to keep our streets and curbs looking much better.  

Many of you have likely seen the new street sweeper in your neighborhood or on your street last week.  

This week I am sharing news that will have an even bigger impact on those who travel Highway 31 North.  

If you have lived in Hartselle for any length of time, you are aware that making left turns, whether heading north or south, is not always an easy task. While there are many median cuts along Highway 31, there are few turn lanes leading to the actual turn area or media cut.  

If you are crossing from a side street on Highway 31, you also can have issues. 

Many of the media cuts are not wide enough to allow a left turn and not have the rear of your vehicle still in 31. This situation creates two issues: One, you have not cleared a heavilytraveled roadway, and two, you hold up the flow of traffic behind you.  

Both situations create problems for you as the driver and for the other vehicles on the road. Both also create possible safety concerns for all involved. 

To ease this situation on a major roadway in our city, the City of Hartselle has developed a master plan for improvements to Highway 31 from Curry Street North to Sparkman Street.  

The plan is broken into two phases:  

Phase 1 will create access management improvements in the area mentioned above. This area has experienced an increase in traffic – which is a good thing – because of commercial growth and residential development.  

Phase 1 will include the design and construction of leftturn deceleration lanes and leftturn lanes in place of existing grasscovered center medians. The current median lighting will also be moved to the sides of the roadway and upgraded to energy efficient and improved LED lighting. 

Phase 2 improvements will include realigning at the intersection of Sparkman Street Northwest and Lane Road Northwest with Highway 31. Traffic signals at this intersection are also in the plan.  

Both phases will increase safety for those traveling Highway 31, increase opportunities for commercial growth along the area on each side and will align with state plans for highway management. 

The good news I am sharing involves $1.5 million in funding the City of Hartselle was granted from the Alabama Department of Transportation. The city applied for Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program funding in fall 2020. Just this week, the city was notified Hartselle had been chosen to receive the funding. 

ATRIP II funds are available from the new gasoline tax that was added in 2018 by a recommendation for Rebuild Alabama Infrastructure Plan from Gov. Ivey and approved by the state legislature. 

The funds for Phase 1 of the master plan will be available through the ATRIP II program as well as matching funds from the City of Hartselle. The total expected cost for Phase 1 is $1.85 million. 

This is great news for our CityWe say thanks to the committee responsible for choosing recipients of the funding and to our local legislators for their support of this master plan. Also, thanks to you folks in Hartselle who purchase gas and fuel in our city, providing the tax funding for this improvement. 

More good news next week.