Spanish Fort plans to put light at Eastern Shore Boulevard

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SPANISH FORT – The Spanish Fort City Council is scheduled to vote Monday, June 7, on a traffic light at the intersection of U.S. 31 and Eastern Shore Boulevard. The signal near Rockwell Elementary School would be a joint project between the city and the Alabama Department of Transportation, city officials said. Mayor Mike McMillan said the light is needed at traffic increases on both roads. “We’re still working and trying to nail down everything, but I think we’re in pretty good shape,” McMillan said. “It’s an opportunity to put that light up on Eastern Shore Boulevard and Highway 31, which I think we all know is needed.” McMillan said that under an agreement with the state, ALDOT will pay $95,785 for the light. The city’s portion of the cost would be $47,892.50. “Our staff has done a very good job of negotiating on this project,” McMillan said. “Somewhere in the project itself is somewhere around, believe it or not for a traffic light, $153,000, which seems awfully high, but it is ALDOT, so that’s what you get.” He said most of the city’s share would be paid with money from the Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization. “The city’s portion by the end of all this project will be somewhere around $10,000,” McMillan said. The Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization includes Spanish Fort, Daphne, Fairhope, Loxley and nearby unincorporated areas. Organization members work together to plan the distribution of federal highway funds and to plan for transportation needs. The city will also be responsible for cost overruns for the light at US 31 and Eastern Shore Boulevard, David Conner, city attorney, said. The city also pays to maintain traffic lights in Spanish Fort. McMillan said the cost of maintaining traffic lights throughout the city is about $175,000 a year. The new light is being installed at the same time that work is expected to begin to repair potholes on Eastern Shore Boulevard and repave the road. The council voted April 19 to allow money from a 1-percent license fee at the Eastern Shore Center to be used for road improvements on the street. Repaving is expected to begin this summer, city officials said. The repaving project is estimated to cost $3.4 million. The roads at the center are part of the mall and are not maintained by the city. Conner said the streets will continue to be owned and maintained by the center.