With the rain finally easing up, work began late last week on the second phase of Sixth Avenue paving — on the more heavily traveled northern section — and it could take the rest of the year to complete.
Wiregrass Construction won the contract for the two-phase, $4.5 million resurfacing of a 4.6-mile section of Sixth Avenue/U.S. 31. The initial phase, a 1.2-mile portion of highway between Atkeson Drive Southeast and Beltline Road Southwest, finished about two weeks ago.
This second phase is a 3.4-mile stretch of Sixth Avenue between Beltline Road and Hudson Memorial Bridge at the Tennessee River. Wiregrass began milling this stretch of highway last week.
Alabama Department of Transportation spokesman Seth Burkett said Wiregrass is working from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Sundays through Thursdays, and possibly Friday nights because traffic is so heavy during the day.
Dewayne Hellums, director of the Decatur-area Metropolitan Planning Organization, said ALDOT traffic counts done in 2019 (the latest numbers available) along Sixth Avenue range from 25,450 daily at Gordon Drive to 33,092 between 10th and 11th streets.
Hellums said the area in front of Bojangles on the southern end of Sixth near the Beltline reached 29,903 daily while the 14th Street intersection showed 30,801. On the north end, traffic numbers were about 28,000.
Burkett said Wiregrass has a 100-day contract on the project so, with weather delays and weekends included, he expects the project would likely wrap up toward the end of the calendar year.
In a separate project, Allen Teague, ALDOT Tuscumbia-area pre-construction engineer, said planning is about 90% complete on the realignment of the Central Parkway and Sandlin Road intersections on Beltline Road Southwest.
The estimated $2-million project will be funded by Alabama Transportation Improvement Program 2 grant money.
“The bids should be let in September,” Teague said. “Normally, it takes about two months for the contractor (who wins the contract) to get started. They will do what they can before the cool weather comes, but it may be next spring before they finish.”