The Metropolitan Planning Organization gave its approval to move ahead on two road construction projects that will improve the safety and traffic flow on a congested arterial road for northwest Madison County, Huntsville and northeast Limestone County.
“I’m grateful for the monumental progress that is being made on this important road project for north Alabama. It has taken a lot of persistence and patience working the process to move along road construction on what is clearly the most pressing transportation need in north Alabama,” said Dale Strong, the chairman of the Madison County Commission. Strong also serves as the chairman of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO.
“Conversations are taking place about four-laning Highway 53, and I’m pleased we are picking up the pace of progress and paving,” he added. “A final solution for definitive funding for paving of the entire road project is the result of much collaboration among many elected leaders in our region. ”
Alabama Highway 53 carries nearly 30,000 cars daily as most of that traffic is commuters from outlying areas to jobs in Huntsville, many of them Redstone Arsenal and Cummings Research Park.
Strong said the widening of Highway 53 will create an economic corridor that will begin at the north end in Ardmore and will impact northwest Madison County, northeast Limestone County and Huntsville.
The new projects include improvements on the highway at three different intersections in northwest Madison County – Harvest Road, McKee Road and Old Railroad Bed Road. Plans including the addition of turn lanes both on the north and south bound lanes. Traffic signals will also be placed at each intersection.
The total estimated cost of the road improvements is $5 million. Work is expected to start in 2023.
Highway 53 is overburdened carrying a heavy load of traffic for a two-lane highway from near the Tennessee border until it reaches Jeff Road in the Monrovia community. Traffic on this route has grown 50% during the past five years.
This overcrowded traffic artery is expected to get additional relief in the not-too-distant future. Also approved by the Metropolitan Planning Organization was a widening of Highway 53 from Jeff Road to Harvest Road. The cost on this project is estimated at $12.5 million and is expected to start in 2024.
Ray Garner is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News.