Archived Story

On the road again

Published 11:19am Saturday, June 8, 2013

Although there isn’t much visual progress on the prospective road through the Central Alabama Business Park, project manager Sheppard Dearing with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood said the design phase is back on track.

“Building a road through the Russell campus is not an easy chore,” Dearing said. “It’s not like building a brand new road. There were some complications with underground utilities and power that we’re resolving now.”

As previously reported in The Outlook Aug. 8, 2011, the Tallapoosa County Commission approved a contract with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood to design “Russell Boulevard” to extend from U.S. Hwy. 280 to Lee Street, making its way through the old Russell complex.

Russell Brands LLC, the city of Alexander City and the county put up funds for the project, in addition to an Industrial Access Grant provided by ALDOT.

Rep. Mark Tuggle said he is eager to see progress being made and expressed concerned about the delays being a threat to the funding from ALDOT.

“We got $1.5 million of industrial access money,” Tuggle said. “For whatever reason, we’ve had to go back and get extensions on that money. You have a time limit to spend the money. You can obviously ask for an extension, but I think at some point if we don’t make some progress … I know money has been turned back into the committee because of lack of construction.”

Tuggle said the money, which is distributed from ALDOT’s industrial access committee, is dedicated to projects that will attract new tenants into parks like Russell.

“It’s only for the construction of the road. It does not pay for engineering,” Tuggle said. “We have to pull the trigger on this thing and get going. It’s important that we show progress and everybody works together. We need to go ahead and break ground and get this thing going. I don’t think we would be allowed an additional extension.

“I’m ready to see the road get done in an effort to help us market the old Russell complex and get some tenants in there.”

Gerard Brewer, Alexander City city engineer, said the project is facing the relocation of fiber, telephone, power, water and gas utilities – the logistics of which slowed the process down.

“There’s a good bit of utilities that have to be relocated,” Brewer said. “Some belong to the city and some belong to Russell. It’s a fairly common thing. You don’t allow main lines to run longitudinally down the footprint of a road. They have to be moved.”

Brewer said although the grant did come into jeopardy because of the delays, Dearing and Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood brought the situation to ALDOT to achieve the necessary extensions by explaining “some of the design snags we’ve been through and the economic hardships.”

Dearing said while they don’t yet have a set deadline on finishing the design phase, the prospected completion is this fall.

“Once the design is complete, then it will go into the bid and award phase,” Dearing said. “We’ve worked through all of those issues, and the funding from the state, city, county and Russell are all in place.”

Dearing said construction will probably begin in 2014.

“We’re back on track and everything looks pretty good,” Dearing said.