Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez on Feb. 22 joined state and local officials to review progress on the Appalachian Corridor X and I-65 Interchange, a project that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) says will improve safety and mobility in rural northwest Alabama.
“President Obama’s vision for creating an America Built to Last calls for real investments in our highways, rail, transit systems, and airports that improve transportation options nationwide,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a press release. “Through projects like Corridor X, we’re not only creating jobs for American workers today, we’re laying the foundation for future economic development throughout the region.”
Administrator Mendez’s visit came a week after the President’s budget release, which includes $305 billion, throughout six years, to rebuild America’s roads and bridges, a 34-percent increase from the previous authorization. However, a proposed highway bill is still under discussion, and House Republicans are now looking to scale back their proposal – which would most likely shorten the new bill to less than six years.
“The Corridor X project will link states and communities, create more business opportunities and improve travel for people throughout Alabama and the entire region,” Mendez said in a written statement. “It is creating jobs and strengthening our infrastructure.”
This final 4.3-mile portion of Corridor X will include a four-level, 85-foot high interchange. The project is improving safety and keeping traffic flowing by adding several lanes and ramps that allow drivers to get on or off I-65 and I-22 without slowing down. The $168.6 million project relies on $134.9 million in federal funding and is expected to be completed in October 2014.
This interchange project at I-65 will complete the 96-mile Alabama portion of Corridor X, which began nearly 30 years ago. The corridor in Alabama begins at the Mississippi State line and ends at US 31 in Birmingham. It has been designated by Congress as Interstate 22.