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I-22 Connector Meeting Paints Gloomy Picture

By Glenn Collins
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 | 3:08 PM

ALDOT's James Brown and Allen Teague discuss the status of the
ALDOT 2nd Division Preconstruction Administrator Allen Teague and Engineer James Brown discuss the status of the "I-22 Connector" Tuesday evening.

Government and business leaders met Tuesday night at Alabama Power to discuss the status of the I-22 Connector. Area legislators and ALDOT representatives attended the meeting sponsored by the Haleyville Area Chamber of Commerce.

State Senators Roger Bedford (D-Russellville), Greg Reed (R-Jasper), Paul Bussman (R-Cullman) and State Representative Ken Johnson (R-Moulton) at the I-22 Connector update meeting Tuesday evening at Alabama Power in Haleyville.

The project, introduced as the "Haleyville By-pass" in 1956, grew wings after a 1996 meeting. The entire project, broken into three phases, re-locates AL13 beginning at Spruce Pine and ending at Delmar.

Phase 1, Spruce Pine to Franklin County 79, lacks only the Gas Branch Creek Bridge. That project is expected to be let in September.  ALDOT Division 3 Engineer James Brown said, "The money for the project is 'iffy.'" Brown described the entire project thus far as "real tough" and  "environmentally sensitive." He added, "We've had many obstacles." The project has parts on bad dirt, over sand pits, and endangered sunflowers.

Phase 2, Franklin 79 to AL195, has been surveyed with the design phase 65% complete. Possible date for construction to begin: 2020, which places it outside the DOT 5 year plan, thus, it is not presently on the radar to be built. 

Bussman, Snoddy and Sunseri discuss alternate funding possibilities for the I-22 Connector
State Sen. Paul Bussman, Circuit Clerk J.D. Snoddy and Mayor Ken Sunseri discuss the funding situation for the I-22 Connector.

Phase 3, AL195 to re-join AL13 at Delmar has not been surveyed. The problem that permeates the entire project is one of funding.

As with ATRIP money, projects in one county are competing with projects in another county for shrinking federal and state dollars.

They put their hats aside and say this is what's best for the community. And when they do that, those communities are the ones that are thriving.

-- State Sen. Paul Bussman  

State Senator Paul Bussman (R-Cullman), whose 4th district will soon include Haleyville, said that communities that present a unified front are the ones that are succeeding in getting financial help from the state.

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