Officials: ATRIP projects help ensure safety

Published 8:44 am Thursday, October 10, 2013

Crenshaw County officials joined others from around the state to give an ATRIP status report on Wednesday.

Locally, the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program is making a $9.3 million impact in the county, and significant progress has been made on the 18 bridge projects and one resurfacing project.

“We want everyone in Crenshaw County to understand the major impact of ATRIP on our area and on your ability to get to school and work,” said Commission Chairman Ricky McElwain. “These improvements will immediately benefit our citizens and our economy, and I’d like to personally thank Gov. Robert Bentley for this wise investment in our local transportations system.”

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Crenshaw County Public Schools Superintendent Randy Wilkes thanked the county commission and Engineer Benjie Sanders for their work on this project.

“Certainly helps a great deal with our system,” Wilkes said. “It gets a lot more convenient  for our buses. Those bridges being out added 36 additional miles day.”

Wilkes said the main concern wasn’t the additional miles or fuel but the safety of the children.

“It might put students catching the bus at the break of light, and being dropped off at dark,” he said. “We travel over 1,500 miles a day on Crenshaw County roads. You can multiply that by 180 and see how many miles we put on our buses.”

Sanders agreed.

“Not only is the ATRIP project going to address road problems, but also safety,” he said. “I also foresee economic impact. Those bridges being out have isolated parts of the county where timber couldn’t be cut or poultry houses couldn’t be put. This will address those needs.”

Commissioner Michelle Stephens said, “Crenshaw County is very thankful to receive this funding so we can provide safe roads and bridges for our residents.”

Currently, a two-bridge replacement project is under way on County Road 50 and the road is expected to be open by the end of the year.

Additionally, two bridge projects on County Road 59 are scheduled to be let in November, and four-bridge replace project on the same road at Blue Creek south of Petrey will be let in the spring.

All other projects on the ATRIP list are in various stages of design preparation and permitting.

Commissioner Charlie Sankey this project have long term benefits.

“Thirty years from now this project is still going to impact us,” he said. “We are excited about it and happy to be a part of this history.”

Gov. Bentley established ATRIP in 2012 to help local governments fund necessary road and bridge improvements.

The program, funded by bonds that will be paid with future federal dollars, requires local governments to put up minimum match funding of 20 percent.

For counties unable to meet the match requirement, a companion program called the Rural Assistance Match Program, or RAMP, was created.