Gulf Shores eyes grant for Hwy. 59 improvements

By: Crystal Cole/ Islander Editor
Posted 2/27/19

The Gulf Shores City Council deliberated authorizing staff to pursue INFRA Grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for construction of the State Highway 59 Capacity

Improvements …

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Gulf Shores eyes grant for Hwy. 59 improvements

Posted

The Gulf Shores City Council deliberated authorizing staff to pursue INFRA Grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for construction of the State Highway 59 Capacity

Improvements Project at its last work session.

The Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Grant Program provides dedicated, discretionary funding for projects that address critical issues facing our nation’s highways and bridges. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and will make approximately $1.5 billion available to projects that improve transportation infrastructure and support four key objectives: (1) supporting economic vitality at the national or regional level, (2) leveraging federal funding to attract non-federal infrastructure investment, (3) using innovation to improve safety and expedite project delivery, and (4) achieve specific, measurable outcomes.

Environmental/ Grants Coordinator Dan Bond said the city would be leveraging some of the improvements already laid out in the 10-year capital plan to help get federal funding to do more improvements.

City Administrator Steve Griffin said because of this there would not be any new fund matching required by the city.

“This is like money over the top of what we’ve already budgeted,” Griffin said.

City staff would like to apply for funding through the INFRA Program for the “State Highway 59 Capacity Improvements Project.” This project will increase capacity along State HWY 59 from County Road 6 to Clubhouse Drive by adding an additional southbound lane, constructing a new pedestrian bridge across the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) to connect the north and south Waterway Village areas, and improving intersections at County Road 6, Cotton Creek Drive, and the proposed HWY 59 medical facility access roads. State HWY 59 is the main traffic artery from I-10 to the economic centers of Foley, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in Baldwin County, and traffic congestion is a growing problem in the region. This project will be designed in coordination with the $21.7M RESTORE ALDOT Capacity project to increase efficiency from HWY 59 to the Foley Beach Express, improve access to the aviation and business park, improve traffic conditions on the north and south sides of the Holmes Bridge, and coordinate access with the new State Bridge across the ICW. The project will also improve traffic flow and access to the Jack Edwards Airport, the Foley Beach Express, and provide alternate routes for emergency vehicles. The total project cost is estimated at $20,000,000. The federal share from the INFRA program is estimated at $12,000,000. The city’s total match is estimated at $8,000,000 consisting of projects identified in the city’s 10-year capital plan.

Also considered during the meeting were:

- A request to replace beach UTVs utilized by Beach Lifeguards and Beach Rangers. The replacement policy in effect for Beach Rescue UTV’s calls for re-placement after 3 years. Prices were obtained through the sealed bid process. A total of four bids received. Lowest conforming bid was submitted by Halls Motorsports Inc. for an amount not to exceed $58,744.95.