TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – The first phase of the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Jack Warner Parkway improvement project is now underway, the city announced Wednesday.
This project is part of HB 600, also known as Transforming Tuscaloosa County, which was passed in the Alabama Legislature July 2016. The bill redistributed countywide sales taxes toward an investment fund for seven major transportation routes.
Construction on phase one improvements began on Dec. 1 and is expected to take 18 months to complete.
The improvements include:
- A four-lane roadway divided by a landscaped median;
- Six-foot sidewalks on both sides from Stillman Blvd. to Greensboro Ave., and on the north side from Greensboro Ave. to 21st Ave.;
- Decorative roadway and pedestrian lighting, landscaping and irrigation; and
- Underground utilities.
Under Transforming Tuscaloosa County, transportation projects fall under the governance of the Tuscaloosa County Road Improvement Commission, which is made up of representatives from local and state governments and the private sector.
“The Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Jack Warner Pkwy. project is one of the most significant projects under Transforming Tuscaloosa County,” Mayor Walt Maddox said in a written statement. “It’s a $33 million investment that will improve transportation access and safety, strengthen and expand the railroad trestle, and provide a boulevard roadway that will serve as a focal point for the revitalization of West Tuscaloosa.”
In the same statement released Wednesday, Rep. Bill Poole said the project was a great opportunity not just for the city of Tuscaloosa, but the entire community.
“It will not only serve as a catalyst for economic development in West Tuscaloosa, but it will benefit everybody in this community, no matter where they live, work, or play,” Poole said
The second phase of the project will improve and expand the railroad trestle, allowing larger vehicles to pass underneath the railroad tracks over Jack Warner Pkwy.