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$1.2T infrastructure plan will help Birmingham

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 3:43 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - President Biden signed into law the $1 trillion infrastructure bill on Monday. The money is expected to address the country’s aging road and bridge system, along with other needed projects. Alabama is expected to benefit with about $7 billion of the money.

One example of benefit for Birmingham is the Rainbow Bridge on Richard Arrington Boulevard. City leaders hope it will be replaced. This is what a total of $1.2 trillion dollars will go toward. The state should see millions for highway programs and bridge replacements. Birmingham residents are looking forward to getting any help with roads, bridges and even help with trains blocking neighborhoods.

It’s a scene residents of southwest Birmingham have been putting up with for weeks. A train blocking a key intersection. “These trains are doing what they are now. The bars on the train have been down ever since Sunday,” Linda Bates said.

Over on 17th Street Southwest, you can see there is no train blocking the roadway, but it’s close enough for the guardrails to be down. Car after car goes around the guardrails as frustrated drivers try to get to their destination. Bates said any federal money to help neighborhoods impacted would be appreciated.

“It would mean a lot. We have emergencies. We have children going to school. I’ve seen children jump the train just to try to get to school in the morning,” Bates said.

Other federal funding would go to fix roads. A Birmingham City Councilman said replacing the bridge on Richard Arrington Boulevard over the railroad tracks is desperately needed, and it would cost $25 million.

“That bridge, I believe, is 115 years old. It’s the worst rated bridge in Jefferson County,” Councilman Darrell O’Quinn said.

Birmingham’s exact share in not known at this time. “Every little bit helps. This hopefully will be a large bit,” O’Quinn said.

ALDOT said many projects will be listed in the State Transportation Improvement Act. A big consideration is construction cost going up, so planning will be important so the state gets the biggest bang for its buck.

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