Many citizens, as well as visitors to the city of Rainsville, are well aware of the road work taking place. Mountain Valley News contacted an official from the Alabama Department of Transportation, Seth Burkett, regarding the purpose and need for the project.
Burkett said that the purpose of the project is twofold. First, the pavement at the intersection in Rainsville is between ten and fifteen years old making it necessary to resurface the roadway. Parts of the road were paved at different times, one part in 2002 and another in 20t09. Second, and possibly most important need for the project, is to reduce the number of crashes at the intersection.
Burkett also discussed the reason for adding the concrete barriers; to reduce conflict points between drivers. Conflict points occur when two cars try to occupy the same space at the same time. Adding the concrete barriers reduces the number of unnecessary access points reducing the likelihood of crashes. He stated, “The concrete barriers may cause a small inconvenience that is outweighed by the safety factor.” Burkett also reported that the intersection had been a hot spot for crashes. With the new barriers in place, fewer people should be pulling out of travel lanes at the same time, and turns should be further from the intersection reducing the number of crashes.
When asked about the time frame for the project, Burkett stated that so far the project has moved fairly quickly. The resurfacing will cover the area from Deerman Avenue to the northern city limits; approximately two miles. The work remaining includes wearing, which involves a waiting period of about two weeks once that procedure is completed, and then striping and marking. He couldn’t really quote and ending time for the project because of the unpredictability of the weather.
The total cost for the project is estimated to be $1,127,370.00 and is funded by the state and federal government. Wiregrass Construction is in charge of the project.
Another local project that affects the citizens of Rainsville is the Chavies Bridge Project. The City of Rainsville recently announced that the bridge project is moving forward. The Chavies Bridge has been deteriorating for a number of years and is unable to accommodate several types of vehicles such as fire trucks and sanitation vehicles. Without direct road access for these important vehicles, the safety and health of citizens could be jeopardized.
The city also reported that the majority of the project is being paid for by the State of Alabama. The state is paying 80% while the City of Rainsville is providing 20% of the project costs in addition to the engineering costs and construction inspection costs, which at this point amount to about $145,000.00 spent out of pocket by the city. The project will expand the bridge from one lane to two lanes. The approaches to the bridge will be leveled out so there will not be a dip when vehicles approach the bridge. The bridge will be safer, and will be built in compliance with the Alabama Department of Transportation specifications. The new bridge will accommodate larger vehicles to service that area of the community.
In addition, the city stated that in accordance with the law, landowners whose properties are required for the project must be justly compensated for their land. If the parties cannot agree on what amount is just compensation, then the City must file a legal action for the Court to decide the amount to be paid to the landowner. The City plans, if needed, to proceed with that legal action in accordance with law to keep moving the project forward.
Mayor Lingerfelt said, “Rainsville is moving forward to make sure the project is completed in a timely manner in order to obtain the necessary state funding, and in order to build a safer, stronger, better bridge for the residents of Rainsville..