Mayor’s Office: Multi-million dollar plan to repave roads to begin soon

Street paving projects in Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Driving around parts of Birmingham can be a bumpy ride. But your commute should soon become a lot more smooth, according to city leaders.

A multi-million dollar street repaving project is in the works right now in Birmingham and city leaders are hoping to add even more money to the pot.

The mayor’s office says the first wave of road repaving should be complete as early as November 2019 and will cost $5.1 million.

The city released a map showing which roads are on the list to be repaired.

The green lines on roads like Clairmont Avenue and 39th St S, are at the top of the list, which means the city has the money to pay for the projects.

The red lines on streets like Fulton Ave SW and Bristol Street are also on the list, but the money to complete those roads has not been approved.

To get more roads repaired, Mayor Randall Woodfin proposed another $8 million in the 2020 budget to go towards street paving.

“Mayor Woodfin is focused on neighborhoods. The mayor has heard our residents say, ‘we want our roads repaved’,” Journey said.

The money to fund the projects comes from tax dollars, according to Journey. “We put together city funds with other partners.”

Partners like ALDOT, which Journey said, pitched in on the $5.1 million toward road repairs in the 2019 budget.

Journey said the $8 million purposed for the 2020 budget is coming from tax dollars.

"The money the city is contributing to the budget, yes, it's tax dollars. Now, if we go deeper into it, there's also what you would identify as capital improvement funds, which come from bonds," Journey added.

However, he said Mayor Woodfin has not used bonds on road repairs.

Journey said getting roads repaved is a process. “You have to identify what the roads are, put together that plan, then we have to bid that project out to contractors,” Journey explained.

The process can take several months to plan behind the scenes before new asphalt is laid.

The mayor’s office said they are now waiting on council to approve the 2020 budget.

“Once this $8 million is approved and moves forward, then the Department of Planning, Engineering, and Permits will have a list that they will provide to city council members and the city council will determine which roads are selected to be the priority going into this [2020] fiscal year,” Journey said.

Journey explained the decision to prioritize projects is a multi-step process.

“They [Department of Planning and Permits] are looking at the conditions of the roadways. They are looking at how much road [needs to be repaved]. The impact it will have on a particular neighborhood or area of the city based on the budget,” said Journey.

The Department of Planning and Permits submits recommendations to city council who then decide which streets to pave first.

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