Tuscaloosa looking to pay for faster road construction completion

Local News

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT)–Mayor Walt Maddox offered the State of Alabama financial incentives hoping to speed up the road construction project in downtown Tuscaloosa.  Maddox tells CBS 42 the city approached the Alabama Department of Transportation to offer nearly $2 million hoping the funds would help get the job done sooner.

“The total cost of the project is $24 million.  The city has $6 million invested and most of that is for water and sewer utility,” Maddox said.

But things didn’t go the way the mayor was hoping for.  ALDOT turned down the offer, Public information officer John McWilliams says they already have enough funding to complete the $24 million job.  The work is expected to be complete possibly in February 2020.

“We are trying to make the contractor move as quickly as possible and we are doing everything in our power to move along the project.  We understand people want this done as quickly as possible.  So that’s what we are trying to do to move it along,” McWilliams said.

The construction forced downtown business owner Josh Giambalvo to close his Frutta Bowls store on University Boulevard.  Giambalvo was losing too much money to stay open.

“We weren’t able to stay afloat here with all this construction and continue to dump money in this. So it was a good decision for us to close.”

Mayor Maddox says the city is trying to help businesses who have been hurt by the road work.

“That’s why the city moved forward with our construction mitigation program to help local businesses. We will probably end up investing like $1 to $2 million over the next few years helping businesses through this difficult time”.

The work along Lurleen Wallace includes: Upgrading underground utilities, sewer improvements and adding new landscaping and sidewalks.

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