RANBURNE — Sally Lovvorn, a Ranburne resident and business owner, says she walks her grandbaby “all over this town,” but on Georgia Avenue she has to change her path: It’s actually smoother to push the child’s stroller along the road’s shoulder rather than on the pavement because the latter is so rough.
The Alabama Department of Transportation gave some hope Friday to Lovvorn and many other locals who’ve long seen the need for road work on Georgia Avenue, as well as on Lake and Pollard streets. ALDOT officials opened bids on the project, for which work will likely get underway within the next 45 to 60 days.
The Ranburne job includes resurfacing and restriping 1.8 miles of Georgia Avenue and County Road 68 all the way to the Georgia state line, a tenth of a mile on Pollard Street and just more than half a mile on Lake Street, which becomes County Road 28 outside Ranburne’s city limits.
Residents of the area have seen the need for a generation.
“These particular streets have not had any work done on them since the 1970s,” said Ranburne Clerk Pam Richardson.
Lorie Bowling, owner and director of Pride & Joy Preschool and Child Care Center on Georgia Avenue, said the road isn’t wide enough for two cars to meet much less to meet the cattle trucks that frequent the road.
“I am looking forward to having a new road,” Bowling said.
Doug Gibbs is the operations manager of Gibbs Farms, which is just outside Ranburne’s limits where Georgia Avenue becomes County Road 68.
“If you drove on that road and met a car, you’d know how important it is,” Gibbs said.
Most cars upon meeting another vehicle have to drive with their right tires on the shoulder, he said.
“The benefit is the safety to all the community that uses that road,” he said.
The work originally was the object of a Community Development Block Development Grant the town of Ranburne unsuccessfully applied for in early 2013. The city estimated at that time the resurfacing and improving drainage on the streets would cost about $303,000.
When the town did not receive the grant, state Sen. Gerald Dial and Ranburne Mayor Owen Lowery negotiated with ALDOT and the Cleburne County Commission to have the work rolled into an ALDOT project.
The Ranburne Town Council promised $75,000 toward the project and the commissioners committed $50,000.
On Friday, there were two bidders on the project, which also includes nearly 10 miles on Alabama 281. Gadsden-based McCartney Construction bid $1,481,536 and Birmingham-based Mid South Paving bid $1,606,475.
It’ll probably be another four or five days before the contract is awarded, said DeJarvis Leonard, district engineer for the department.
“We have to review everything first and make sure there are no discrepancies in the bids,” Leonard said.
It typically takes between 45 days and two months from the day the bids are opened until work starts on the project, he said.