By Russ Corey via The Times Daily
TUSCUMBIA — Two northwest Alabama road and bridge projects are showcased on the homepage of the new drivealabama.org website.
Both projects, and many more in Lauderdale and Franklin counties, were funded through the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP), a billion dollar program to help improve the state’s failing roads and bridges.
The site went live Monday and provides information about ATRIP projects throughout the state.
County Engineer John Bedford said the Frankfort Road bridge project, the county’s largest ATRIP project, is about a month ahead of schedule.
“If everything goes well, we’ll have that bridge completed by January,” Bedford said.
The new website also provides information about the state’s deteriorating infrastructure, and the need to create a sustainable source of revenue so counties can address mounting maintenance issues.
DRIVE is an acronym for Developing a Road and Infrastructure Vision for Everyone in Alabama.
Elmore County Engineer Richie Beyer describes DRIVE as a grassroots campaign to improve the state’s deteriorating transportation infrastructure.
“It is a coalition of county commissioners, community leaders and citizens led by county engineers who want to bring attention to Alabama’s growing infrastructure needs,” Beyer said. “Currently, 66 of Alabama’s 67 counties are actively involved in the campaign.”
“Our network of local roads and bridges is in critical condition,” he said. “Without action, the problem will only grow worse and more costly. We must take action.”
The website includes an interactive map of Alabama where users can click on a county and see all the ATRIP projects that are underway, or will be taking place in the coming months.
The site also provides information on county transportation funding sources, as well as links to articles on transportation and infrastructure news. There are testimonials from Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long, and Sonny Brasfield, executive director of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama.
“Local roads and bridges are the portals to our communities, and a critical component of economic growth for county governments,” Long said “Alabama needs a long-term, sustainable revenue source to adequately address our infrastructure needs.”
Bedford said the site is a good tool to help the public understand what the state and its counties are facing when struggling with insufficient funding for road and bridge maintenance.