The second phase of the Ross Clark Circle expansion project will likely begin after the holiday season, a local official said Friday.
Local dignitaries conducted a quarterly meeting with the Alabama Department of Transportation and received an update on the Ross Clark Circle project, Rep. Paul Lee told the Eagle. Contractors may set up barrels or install signs before the end of the year, Lee said, but he does not expect construction to begin until early next year.
The state recently opened the bids for the second phase of the Ross Clark Circle expansion project, which widens the roadway to six lanes from south of U.S. Highway 84 to Meadowbrook Drive. The project also expands U.S. Highway 84 to six lanes from Bel Aire Drive to North Englewood Avenue.
Midsouth Paving of Birmingham submitted the low bid of $16,193,632.75 – well within state officials’ estimates for the project.
“They were very pleased with the pricing,” Lee said.
Work currently continues on the first phase of the Ross Clark Circle, also handled by Midsouth Paving. That project is adding two new lanes to Ross Clark Circle from Bauman Drive to just south of U.S. Highway 84.
Lee said that portion of the initiative, which began in May, is going “exceptionally well.”
Local and state officials have discussed the expansion of the western and northern sides of Ross Clark Circle for several years. Local legislators obtained more than $40 million from the defunct Interstate 10 connector project to help pay for the project.
The state first bid the project as a whole in September 2018, but Midsouth Paving and Wiregrass Construction Company submitted a combined bid that topped $61 million. Since that figured exceeded estimates by roughly $18 million, officials decided to split the project into at least four phases.
The third phase will extend the expansion from Meadowbrook Drive to U.S. Highway 231 North (Montgomery Highway), Lee said. The timeframe for that project has not been set, as officials will eventually determine how much overlapping of the phases the traffic system can stand.
The six-lane project will eventually conclude at Ross Clark’s intersection with North Cherokee Avenue. It also includes some expansion of Montgomery Highway.
Lee expressed satisfaction in the progress made so far, noting that the project is “on target” in terms of timing and funding.
“We’ve talked about this, and finally after years, it’s happening,” he said. “I’d love to encourage people to be patient (with the construction).”