A project that would realign four Beltline Road Southwest intersections to improve traffic flow has been approved, and construction is expected to begin before the end of the year.
The estimated $1.8 million project would realign the Beltline intersections with Veterans Drive, Central Parkway, Sandlin Road and Modaus Road with funds from the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program II.
The Decatur-area Metropolitan Planning Organization voted unanimously earlier this week to add the project to year 2020 plans in its Transportation Improvement Program.
The plan is to move left-turn lanes on the Beltline at the four intersections to the left to create improved sight lines so the drivers on the Beltline can turn under a permissive signal rather than having always to wait for a turn arrow signal, said City Engineer Carl Prewitt.
Clint Baker, Alabama Department of Transportation engineer, said the state is waiting on surveyors to finish the design and engineering before seeking bids.
MPO Director Dewayne Hellums said, “With the (coronavirus) pandemic, everything is kind of in flux, but they should begin the project before the end of the year."
A contractor hasn’t been determined, so the impact of the construction work on traffic isn’t available yet. However, Mayor Tab Bowling asked the state to instruct the contractor to do the work at night if possible.
ATRIP II will pay for the entire project, including design and engineering. A city match isn’t required as it was for previous ATRIP projects. Thus, the project won’t cost the city anything if it stays on budget, Prewitt said.
State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, has been pushing for the project for several years now, and served on the ATRIP II committee that chooses the projects that it will fund.
“This is an important project because it will help keep traffic on the Beltline from stacking up, and the permissive turns will help with traffic flow,” Orr said.
Bowling said this is a significant project for Decatur “because it will impact a majority of our residents.”
Prewitt said the city would also like to realign the Beltline's intersections at Glenn Street (south of Publix) and Longview Drive (south of Lowe's), but the money isn’t available yet.