For Immediate Release
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Report available at: tripnet.org
NEW REPORT IDENTIFIES TOP TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED TO SUPPORT ALABAMA’S ECONOMIC GROWTH, INCLUDING PROJECTS TO ADDRESS DETERIORATED AND CONGESTED ROADWAYS, DEFICIENT BRIDGES, NEEDED SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS
Birmingham, Alabama – A new report identifies Alabama’s 50 most needed transportation improvements to address deficient, crowded or congested roads, highways and bridges throughout the state. The deteriorated and congested conditions threaten to stifle economic growth and development in Alabama, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.
The report, “The Top 50 Highway Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life in Alabama,” identifies the transportation improvements most needed to support economic growth and quality of life in Alabama. Of the top 20 projects identified in the report, seven are located in the Birmingham area. These improvements include projects to build, expand or modernize the state’s network of highways and bridges. Making needed transportation improvements would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, improving safety, and making Alabama an attractive place to live, visit and do business. A lack of adequate transportation funding is the constraining factor in developing and delivering these needed improvements.
The 20 most needed transportation improvements to support economic growth in the state, as identified by the TRIP report, are detailed below. Additional information about each project can be found in the report.
Alabama’s Most Needed Transportation Projects for Economic Growth
- Adding lanes to a portion of I-65 in Shelby County
- Capacity improvements on I-10 from downtown Mobile across the Mobile Bay
- Capacity improvements to a portion of I-59 in Birmingham (1st Ave. to Chalkville Rd.)
- Widening US 98 to four lanes from Mississippi State Line to Mobile
- Capacity improvements to a portion of I-59 in Birmingham (I-459 to Valley Road)
- Adding lanes to US 231 in Dothan
- Widening US-11 in Tuscaloosa
- Widening SR 133 in Shoals
- Widening SR 14 in Montgomery
- Adding lanes to a portion of I-65 in Birmingham
- Widening SR 119 from I-65 to US 280 in Birmingham
- Constructing a new freeway bypass around Montgomery
- Adding lanes to I-10 from the Mississippi State Line to Mobile
- Adding lanes to the I-10 Eastern Shore
- Constructing a four-lane route along US 82
- Widening SR 69 in Cullman County
- Widening SR 150 in Birmingham
- Widening SR 77 in Gadsden
- Widening SR 90 in Mobile
- Widening US 411 in Birmingham
The needed highway projects identified in the TRIP report would require an investment of $4.6 billion to complete. The needed projects include 10 widening projects on 63 miles of Alabama’s Interstate highway system. Based on forecast traffic growth, approximately 630 miles of Alabama’s Interstate Highway System are currently or will become congested and will need additional capacity to accommodate economic growth in the state.
“Birmingham serves as a crucial transportation hub in the Southeast, therefore we need to enhance our infrastructure in order to be competitive and protect our future in economic development,” said Brian Hilson, president and CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance. “The TRIP report outlines road projects that will spark economic growth and ensure public safety.”
According to the TRIP report, 16 percent of Alabama’s major urban roads are in poor condition. Nine percent of bridges are structurally deficient, meaning they have significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 13 percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete. These bridges no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
Alabama’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.31 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is significantly higher than the national average of 1.09. The fatality rate on Alabama’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.11 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013, approximately two-and-a-half times the 0.83 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.
Enhancing critical segments of Alabama’s transportation system will boost the state’s economy in the short-term by creating jobs in construction and related fields. In the long-term these improvements will enhance economic competitiveness and improve quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth. Sustaining Alabama’s long-term economic growth and maintaining the state’s quality of life will require increased investment in expanding the capacity of the state’s transportation system, which will enhance business productivity and support short- and long-term job creation in the state.
“Investing in Alabama’s transportation system and addressing these challenges by improving the condition and efficiency of the state’s roads and bridges will be an effective step in boosting the state’s economy, enhancing quality of life and making Alabama an attractive place to live, work and visit,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP.