Mayor Guyton, Rep. Craig Ford an­nounce ALDOT to re­sume ef­forts to ex­tend I-759

Cherokee County Herald - - VIEWPOINTS -

GADS­DEN — Mayor Sherman Guyton and Rep. Craig Ford, D-Gads­den, an­nounced that the Alabama De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion has agreed to re­sume work on the ex­ten­sion of In­ter­state 759 in Gads­den. The de­ci­sion re­sulted from dis­cus­sions with Gov. Robert Bent­ley and his staff dur­ing the past two years, Guyton and Ford said.

ALDOT has pre­vi­ously con­ducted en­gi­neer­ing stud­ies that sought to iden­tify a route for ex­tend­ing I-759 from where it ends at Ge­orge Wal­lace Drive to U.S. High­way 431. The ex­ten­sion would be ap­prox­i­mately two miles long.

“A traf­fic study com­pleted by ALDOT in 2015 showed a com­pelling need for es­tab­lish­ing a link be­tween I-759 and High­way 431,” Gov. Robert Bent­ley said. “We look for­ward to the pro­gres­sion of this project that will be so im­por­tant to the growth and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of the Gads­den area. I have asked Alabama De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion Di­rec­tor John Cooper to lead this ef­fort and su­per­vise the ad­vance­ment of this project.”

The first step is for ALDOT to com­plete a de­tailed sur­vey to se­lect a pro­posed route. Sur­vey­ors will be­gin work in the very near fu­ture.

“Af­ter a route is de­ter­mined, right-of-way ac­qui­si­tion will be­gin with re­lo­ca­tion of util­i­ties to fol­low,” Cooper said. “As with all of our work at this time, funding is an is­sue that will af­fect the time­line for how long it takes to de­velop plans and be­gin con­struc­tion.”

Guyton and Ford wel­comed the op­por­tu­nity to con­tinue work­ing on a plan that Mayor Sherman Guyton would some­day con­nect I-759 to High­way 431.

“We’re very grate­ful to Gov. Bent­ley for his will­ing­ness to con­sider Gads­den’s need for this vi­tal con­nec­tor,” Guyton said.

Added Rep. Ford, “For the past sev­eral months, Mayor Guyton and I have been work­ing non-stop with Gov. Bent­ley and his staff to secure the $50 mil­lion in funding needed for the I-759 ex­ten­sion. If Etowah County were the heart, then this project would be the aorta of eco­nomic growth and pub­lic safety. With­out a doubt, this is my proud­est ac­com­plish­ment as a leg­is­la­tor, and I am grate­ful to the peo­ple of Etowah County for al­low­ing me to serve!” Rep. Craig Ford, D-Gads­den

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