By Guy Busby, Government Editor, email@example.com
FOLEY – In an effort to relieve traffic stress on Alabama 59, Foley is extending Juniper Street south from where it now ends at Baldwin County 20.
The Foley City Council voted Monday, April 18, to approve a contract with McElhenny Construction to build the extension at a cost of almost $4.53 million.
McElhenny was the lowest of three bidders. All of the bids were within 5.7% of each other, Chad Christian said.
“They were all competing. They all want the project,” Christen said. “That's what it will cost to build this road.”
The project calls for Juniper to be extended south from Baldwin County 20, then turn to the southwest and then west to link with Alabama 59 at Baldwin County 20 South.
Mayor Ralph Hellmich said the project will help reduce traffic congestion on Alabama 59 in the southern area of Foley
“This will, basically, carry us into the future and we think it will reduce the pressure on the County Road 20 intersection and on 59,” Hellmich said. “This will then allow us to move forward with our access management plan on that first section because we'll be able to do signage and make it be a way to divert traffic on those roads right there at Home Depot, Lowes complexes.”
“It is more expensive, but it's not going to get any cheaper,” he added.
Councilman Charles Ebert said the work will help traffic move in a congested area of the city.
“Anything to help the congestion on Juniper and 59,” Ebert said. “This is going to give people another option to go a little farther south, catch a light and kind of get south of that mess before you have to get back out on 59.”
Mike Thompson, city administrator, said the area is also near city sports complexes. The extended road will help promote sports tourism in the region by improving the access to Foley facilities.
Hellmich said more commercial development, including two hotels and another new business, are planned near the intersection of Juniper and Baldwin County 20. “You're going to see this area continue to develop from a commercial standpoint,” he said.
The mayor said city officials began planning to extend Juniper, which is located east of the Tanger Outlet Center, about two years ago.
“Then the pandemic hit, and the economy basically collapsed,” Hellmich said. “So, it slowed things down, so this is a project that's been delayed about a year. Then it took a while to get everything engineered.”
Hellmich praised city staff members for getting the project ready for bid and construction.
“Thank y'all for moving these engineering projects forward,” Hellmich said. “Our folks are wanting us to work on the roads and that's what we're trying to do, especially in regard to Juniper Street. That is a major thing, but we were committed to do that.”
The project will include replacing the traffic signals at the intersection of Juniper and Baldwin County 20, Christian said. He said the large pole and mast are located where the roadway will be extended.
Some of the signals can be saved for other uses, he said.