ATRIP road work on way

Published 10:15 pm Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Monday the approval of 302 new state-funded road and bridge projects, with Atmore and Escambia County benefiting.

The city will see a portion of funding from the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program to repave Medical Park Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive from State Line Road to Carver Avenue.

“I’m glad to hear it,” Mayor Jim Staff said. “We had applied for it, but didn’t think we’d get it.”

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The project that will extend from the city limits on the north side to the city limits on the south side is much-needed staff said.

“It’s been patched and dug up and patched again,” he said.

The project will cost a total of $737,306 with the state picking up 80 percent of that, or $589,845 and the city responsible for the remaining $147,461.

The city will begin accepting bids for a resurfacing project on Presley Street in March, Staff said. The funds for that project will be provided by ATRIP and revenues from the city’s gasoline tax.

“We’ve been saving it for eight years,” Staff said.

In all, Bentley announced 10 new projects for Escambia County.

Escambia County Administrator Tony Sanks said the ATRIP funds will be released only if the sponsoring governments come up with the required matching funds.

“We did have an option for apply for funding without matching money,” Sanks said. “But, it would have been a limited amount of funding. This is the second round of ATRIP funding announcements, and our county had already used a portion of the total allowable amount that did not require matching funds.”

Sanks said nearly $2 million of the $5 million in funds for non-matching projects has already been claimed in the county.

“We had over $1.9 million awarded in Escambia County in the first round,” Sanks said. “That limited us to less than $3.1 million in this latest round.”

Although the $3 million left on the ATRIP table for the county may sound like a lot of money, Sanks said it wouldn’t go very far.

County projects, which total just more than $1.4 million, are planned for the resurfacing of Canoe Road North to Robinsville Road; Wolflog Road from Alabama 113 to Old Highway 31; and Ridge Road from the East Brewton city limits to U.S. 29.

Under the current plan, ATRIP funding will be used for 10 projects around the county. The local funding — to be paid by the Escambia County Commission, the City of East Brewton and the City of Atmore — would be $1,272,917, with ATRIP funding at $4,905,032  brining the total cost of the projects to just more than $6.1 million.

ATRIP is the largest road and bridge improvement program in Alabama’s history.

“Everyone benefits from ATRIP,” Bentley said. “We’re improving public safety by replacing old bridges and repairing and widening outdated roads. ATRIP also helps create jobs. When companies build new facilities, they look for areas with good roads and bridges. ATRIP is giving them what they need. The more companies that build and expand in Alabama, the more jobs we’re able to create.”

At least one additional round of ATRIP funding is scheduled, Alabama officials said. Eligible projects not selected in previous funding rounds are once again eligible to be submitted.  The deadline for submitting applications for the next round of funding is May 31.