Work continues on highway projects

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SPANISH FORT – Construction crews are making progress on several highway projects on the Eastern Shore, Matt Ericksen, division engineer with the Alabama Department of Transportation told local officials recently.

The divergent diamond intersection on Interstate 10 and Alabama 181 is on schedule to be completed in March, Ericksen told members of the Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization.

“It’s moving along well,” he said. “Two of the four ramps have been graded and asphalt placed on them.”

ALDOT officials plan to finish the ramp work before the Christmas holidays begin and traffic increases near the mall, he said.

The project also includes lighting on US 90 and adding a third northbound lane on Alabama 181, he said. Construction crews will be working on that part of the project that will not have as much impact on traffic during the holidays.

“After the holiday season we will start implementing traffic shifts,” he said. “There will be detours involved in that. There will be some nighttime work and especially on that project with change of the traffic pattern, we will have a large media blitz.”

Work has been going on to widen US 31 to three lanes in Spanish Fort. He said progress is picking up on that project.

“We’ve started to make substantial progress on it,” he said. “The controlling item is the graded drain.”

During construction, traffic on US 31 will be detoured for about two weeks while a drain is installed across the highway. Local traffic will be diverted down Old Mobile Highway while other traffic will be detoured to Interstate 10.

The anticipated completion for the US 31 project is January 2021.

Ericksen said ALDOT is also working to design a new intersection at Alabama 59 and US 90. The state is now acquiring property for the right of way and plans to go out for bids on the work in the first quarter of 2020.

At the meeting of the Eastern Shore MPO, the group approved a Transportation Improvement Plan for 2020-2023 that also includes upcoming highway projects.

The TIP includes new turn lanes on Gayfer Avenue at the intersection of US 98 in Fairhope and widening the right of way on Baldwin County 64 from Alabama 181 to Baldwin County 54 East. The Baldwin 64 project also includes a traffic circle at Rigby and Austin roads.

At the meeting, State Sen. Chris Elliot said $800,000 in state funding for the Gayfer Avenue project has been included in Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Project II list. The move will allow money intended for that project to be diverted to other highway needs in the area.

The TIP included the construction of intersection improvements at Baldwin 64 and Pollard Road in Daphne.

Pojects planned after 2020 include the construction of US 98 corridor improvements in Daphne at a cost of $2.3 million and widening Baldwin County 68 from Loxley to the Baldwin Beach Express at a cost of $785,000.

In 2023, a roundabout is scheduled to be built at North Section Street, Alabama 104, Veterans Drive and Scenic 98 at a cost of $2.3 million.