(Photo by Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford was recently notified that the State of Alabama had awarded the city more than $400,000 to ease congestion at a major intersection near the Meighan bridge. The funds will be used to reconfigure the turning lanes at the intersection of Hood Avenue and U.S. Highway 431 (pictured at right), locally known as Meighan Boulevard.
The funds will be added to an earlier round of $917,000 in state funding for a total state award of $1,318,000. The city will provide a match of approximately $303,000 toward the project. Without providing exact dates, the city expects the project to be well underway this summer.
“We are appreciative to Governor Kay Ivey and Alabama Department of Transportation Director John Cooper for recognizing the importance of this project,” said Ford. “This is another example of the city leveraging every possible resource and connection to bring our tax dollars back to Gadsden. Fixing this traffic issue will improve quality of life and public safety in Gadsden.”
In addition to the lane reconfigurations, the entire intersection will be milled and overlaid with appropriate pavement to strengthen its resistance to heavy truck traffic. The project is expected to create more efficient traffic operations along the Meighan Boulevard corridor.
The enhancements should increase public safety while also improving access to all corners of the city. According to data from the Critical Analysis Reporting Environment (CARE), there were 146 recorded crashes at this intersection in a five-year period. Of those crashes, 30 reported injuries as a result.
The city expects this project to complement the traffic alleviation that will come from the Eastern Connector project currently underway, which will extend and connect I-759 to U.S. Highway 431 and Alabama Highway 278 East.