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TUESDAY, JULY 24, 2007
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Paving U.S. 31
in 2008

State plans $1.5 million project
into heart of Hartselle

By Bayne Hughes
hughes@decaturdaily.com 340-2432

The Alabama Department of Transportation plans to repave four miles of U.S. 31 through the heart of Hartselle, during the 2008 fiscal year.

District Engineer Johnny Harris said plans for an estimated $1.5 million project include repaving from Flint Creek — just inside the Decatur city limits — through the Alabama 36 intersection and to the NAPA Auto Parts store.

Harris said the state usually seeks bids and awards contracts on road projects in January. This lets the contractor start the project in the spring when the weather improves.

The state paved a 3.45-mile stretch of U.S. 31, known as Sixth Avenue Southeast, from Hudson Memorial Bridge to Alabama 67.

Shelby Contracting did the job in 60 days even though Sixth Avenue is one of Decatur's busiest roads.

The Hartselle project would leave a 3.9-mile stretch from Flint Creek to Alabama 67 without a new surface.

A 2.5-mile stretch from the creek to the former Lurleen B. Wallace Development Center is smooth but aging, while the final 1.4 miles have the same brown surface as Hartselle's portion, with ruts that make for a bumpy ride and hold water. Striping disappears in spots.

Stripes on the outside of the entire 3.9-mile stretch do not exist. The median grass is encroaching the roads in a number of spots, making it difficult at night or in foggy or rainy conditions to see the highway edges.

Harris said he thinks this portion of the highway is in the state's plans for repaving at a later date, so he doubts the striping division has any plan for the 3.9-mile stretch.

"But I'll follow up and go look at the road," Harris said. "If it's a problem, we may have to take care of it now."

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