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Commission amends transportation plan for Rebuild Alabama

Bids opened March 16 for the Franklin County highway department’s Rebuild Alabama project submission.

The ALDOT website, http://dot.state.al.us, explains the Rebuild Alabama Act, passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Kay Ivey in 2019, is an annual infrastructure grant program administered by the Alabama Department of Transportation.

Eligibility for submission for improvements through Rebuild Alabama funds includes any local classified road or bridge open to public traffic.

During the county commission meeting March 14, the assistant county engineer, Jason Baggett, shared the expectation that the bids might wind up being high because of the current prices of fuel and other items – a situation he explained would necessitate amending the county transportation plan in order to re-advertise.

In the March 21 commission meeting, Baggett confirmed the received bids were high and said the highway department recommended the rejection of all the bids, amending the county transportation plan and re-advertising the project.

“As we anticipated, the bids were a little bit higher than what we had the funding for,” explained Baggett. “What we’re taking out of the transportation plan is Highway 124 and Highway 77. Lost Creek Road and Highway 59 are still in the plan.”

Baggett said the next opportunity to open bids starts April 20, with the project expected to begin sometime in June.

Franklin County engineer David Palmer explained the reasoning behind keeping Lost Creek Road and Highway 59 as part of the Rebuild Alabama project.

“We don’t have the equipment to do a micro pave, which would be required on one of the roads,” said Palmer, “and, regarding the other one, it’s just a very long stretch of road that would take us forever to do with our own equipment.”

He went on to explain the highway department still plans to repair the roads removed from the project, Highway 124 and Highway 77. “They are the shortest stretches, and we feel like we can take care of them with our own forces.”

“This brings things in line with where they need to be in terms of the cost and how it matches the rebuild monies that we have coming in. So, all four roads still get done, but we just have to do the two shortest ones with our own forces.”

The commission voted in favor of the recommended course of action.

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