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Three Anniston streets set for work with county money

Grant Avenue, South Allen Avenue and Front Street to get repairs

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Grant Ave. Anniston

Anniston City Councilwoman Ciara Smith, shown, has secured funding for road repairs to Grant Avenue in Anniston.

The streets in Anniston’s Council Ward 3 will see road work soon, largely with the help of the Calhoun County Commission, Anniston City Councilwoman Ciara Smith announced this week.

In a post on Facebook, Smith announced $94,000 worth of paving projects on Front Street, South Allen Avenue and Grant Avenue.

“I grew up on South Allen, and I don’t think that street has been paved since I was little,” Smith said.

Front Street is a patch-covered road in southern Anniston that serves more or less as a borderline between industrial sites and neighborhoods. Grant Avenue, on the city’s hilly eastern side, is a narrow street in a residential neighborhood with a steep narrow curve at one end. South Allen is not far from Grant.

Smith’s Facebook post lists the roads as part of a larger “infrastructure plan” for Ward 3, and it makes reference to 4,507 feet of road  “paved” in the project. But that paving isn’t done yet. Smith said she sought and got funding from County Commissioners Tim Hodges and Fred Wilson for the road work.

Anniston lies in both commissioners’ districts, though county commissioners for the most part keep their road spending to areas outside city limits. Attempts to reach Hodges and Wilson for comment Friday were unsuccessful.

County engineer Brian Rosenbalm said he had already received verbal approval for the projects, though the official paperwork is yet to be completed. He said the work likely won’t begin for several weeks, and may take longer if there’s bad weather.

In recent weeks, city officials have been quietly nudging the Anniston City Council to craft a citywide priority list of roads that need paving. At a council meeting earlier this year, Public Works director David Arnett presented council members with a map of the city’s best and worst roads, as judged by an outside engineering firm.

Smith’s announcement shows how complex that road-priority discussion could eventually be. Arnett’s map shows West 16th Street and Rainwater Court as the roads in Ward 3 most in need of repair. Smith says the three roads she’s getting fixed are among the top five on her priority list, along with Leighton Avenue and West 15th Street.

Arnett said he’s not surprised. His map, he said, was based on assessments of road damage alone, by consultants who drove each of the roads and took photos.

“The data may give you the worst road, but that may also be a road that nobody travels,” he said. Arnett said he hopes council members will use his map as a starting point to talk about priority roads.