MONTGOMERY – As part of her mission to steady the ship of state, Governor Kay Ivey is focused on implementing policies aimed at improving Alabama’s economy. To that end, Governor Ivey announced today she has directed Alabama Department of Transportation Director John Cooper to expand a portion of Interstate 65 in north Shelby County from four lanes to six lanes. The announcement came as part of a meeting with the Shelby County Legislative Delegation.

“Infrastructure development is economic development. If traffic is congested and our roads are blocked, transportation is slowed and the wheels of economic progress are slowed. As Governor, my quest is to provide Alabama’s families and small businesses with every opportunity for success; this project is just the start of our statewide focus of spurring economic growth through improving our infrastructure,” Governor Ivey said. “By expanding I-65 in Shelby County, we are not only meeting a long overlooked need in our state, we are also signaling that economic development is central to my administration and that Alabama is open for business. I instructed Director Cooper to move forward with this project because it is the right thing to do for the people and businesses of Alabama.”

The plan, as directed by Governor Ivey and implemented by Director Cooper, will add lanes to I-65 from Exit 238 in Alabaster to Exit 242 in Pelham, making the 3.5 mile stretch of four-lane interstate into a six-lane roadway. Additionally, the shoulder space along both the northbound and southbound lanes will be increased to easily allow more lanes to be added in the future. Currently, 93,000 vehicles per day travel this section of roadway, with over 12,000 of those being tractor trailers.

“Governor Ivey is to be commended for her leadership on increasing the traffic capacity along a very congested portion of I-65 in north Shelby County. Our community is experiencing tremendous population and economic growth and our roads need to keep up. I am thankful that Governor Ivey recognizes the importance of infrastructure in economic development, and I look forward to working with her on future projects, both in my district and around the state,” Senator Cam Ward, commented.

“Though this project has been on the radar for a while, Governor Ivey made it clear to me that alleviating traffic congestion across the state is a high priority for her. I am looking forward to spearheading this project, now that she has given us the green light to move forward, as traffic in this area is expected to grow to over 150,000 vehicles per day during the next 20 years,” Director Cooper said.

ALDOT will take bids on the plan before the end of the 2017 calendar year. The project is anticipated to require two years to complete, at an estimated cost of between $50 - $60 million. The chosen contractor will be notified by February 1, 2018 with construction to begin by the end of February 2018.

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