Record Ala. project to complete Corridor X

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Construction is expected to begin around Aug. 1 on the most expensive highway contract ever awarded by the Alabama Department of Transportation.

The $168.6 million project will provide 1½ miles of ramps and bridges connecting Corridor X, an interstate highway connection to Memphis, Tenn., with Interstate 65 at Birmingham. It will feature an interchange 85 feet tall.

The department’s division engineer, Brian Davis, told The Birmingham News, “It’s absolutely the most complex project we’ve ever had in the Birmingham area. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Atlanta-based Archer Western Contractors submitted the low bid for the project. It is supposed to be completed in 2014 along with a companion project to connect U.S. 31 to the intersection of Corridor X and I-65. That 3,000 feet of road will be bid next year and is expected to cost $15 million to $20 million, Davis said.

Alabama Transportation Director Joe McInnes said the two projects will complete the Alabama portion of Corridor X, which will be known as Interstate 22.

“It opens up a transportation corridor that has been 40 years in the making,” McInnes said.

While the project is the largest contract ever let by the Alabama Department of Transportation, Davis said some past contracts might equal that amount if adjusted for inflation.

Steve Hausler, the project manager for Archer Western Contractors, said the company is no stranger to record-breaking projects.

It is performing the $218 million widening of a 14.3-mile stretch of Interstate 85 in Coweta and Meriwether counties in Georgia. That project is the single largest in the Georgia Department of Transportation’s history and involves extensive bridge work.

The Associated Press