LINCOLN -- The council during its meeting Tuesday night authorized the mayor to execute an agreement for construction engineering services with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood Inc., which moves the Magnolia Street Project closer to reality. 

“I would expect the work to start by November,” Mayor Lew Watson said Wednesday.

Watson was not present at Tuesday night’s meeting. He was traveling to a National League of Cities Conference in Camden, South Carolina. 

The engineering services, which include all design work, will cost the city $325,028. Watson said Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood will also oversee project for the municipality.

He said the project is being paid for through a grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation.  

Watson said the city’s match for the project is 20 percent, which does not include engineering costs and the cost of relocating utilities. 

The city has already relocated utilities along Magnolia Street, Watson said. He said the municipality should know the price tag for the project by the end of July. 

Watson said ALDOT has already advertised the project and is soliciting bids. 

He was uncertain when work will start, saying it depends on the contractor, which will have up to 60 days to begin once the bid for the project is approved. 

“I would expect it (the project) will take a year to complete, once work begins,” Watson said. 

He said the work will include widening Magnolia Street from Alabama 77 to U.S. 78 by 6 feet. 

The work will include construction of sidewalks and a new traffic light at the intersection of Alabama 77 and Magnolia Street. 

“We already had one fatality there,” Watson said. “A pedestrian was struck and killed. This will make that intersection much safer.”

The project includes the addition of another left-hand turn lane at the intersection of Magnolia Street and U.S. 78. 

Watson said this will provide two left-hand turn lanes from Magnolia Street onto U.S. 78 West, going towards Honda Manufacturing of Alabama. 

“This will really help the flow of traffic,” he said, adding that currently traffic backs up at certain times of the day at that intersection. 

Watson said not only will the work improve traffic flow and safety, but it will also enhance the appearance of the downtown area of the city.