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Pell City approves additional engineering services for Hazelwood Drive project

Hazelwood Drive/Veterans Parkway intersection in Pell City

The proposed road will connect to Veterans Parkway at the Hazelwood Drive/Veterans Parkway intersection.

PELL CITY — The Pell City Council has approved a supplemental fee to EEFS Company for engineering services for the Hazelwood Drive Redirect project. 

During its regular meeting Monday, the council approved paying the engineering firm $26,000 for new engineering services needed for the project. The council previously had paid EEFS $140,000 in 2016 for the initial services for the project but City Manager Brian Muenger said the situation has changed in the time it has taken the St. Clair County Commission to acquire property for the project.

The project, which is a joint venture between the commission and the city, is meant to create a direct route from U.S. Highway 231 and Veterans Parkway. Muenger said this is meant to ease access to St Vincent’s St. Clair and other services on the parkway, as well as provide a place for further commercial development north of Interstate 20 and return the level of traffic on the current Hazelwood Drive back to a reasonable residential level. Under that agreement the city is responsible for professional services while the county provided the funds for the project through grants. 

Muenger said the new engineering services stem from the city needing to go through another  Plans Submittal and Estimate Meeting with the Alabama Department of Transportation because of the long property acquisition phase.

“Our PS&E review with ALDOT has lapsed,” he said. “ALDOT is now requiring that we come back for an additional PS&E review, which then triggers the necessity to update our plans to the latest standard.”

Muenger said these updates will not likely change anything about the final project, but are required to meet ALDOT regularly updated standards.

“The design changes and updates will be technical in nature and imperceptible to non engineers I would say,” he said, adding that the process will not require any re-examining of the basic design or needed right of way.

He said another part of the services is adding utility relocation to the project submission. Muenger said the county has secured funds for reimbursement of 80 percent of those costs, which range from $400,000 to $450,000, through ALDOT, but plans for those relocations must be in the submission.

Muenger said the work on the project should begin this winter. Street Superintendent Greg Gossett said he and the county engineer had discussed starting clearing the land for the project as early as January. The city manager said one of the priorities of the project will be making sure there is a minimal disruption to the businesses in the area. 

In other matters, the council:

—Held a public hearing to assess abatement costs for three properties on 23rd Street North, along with properties on Stemley Bridge Road, 7th Avenue North and 6th Avenue North. Noone spoke at the hearing and the costs were approved;

—Approved a resolution awarding a bid of $86,445 to Try Me Fencing for fencing at the Pell City Street Department;

—Approved a statewide mutual aid agreement for the Pell City Fire Department;

—Approved appropriation agreements with the Pell City Chamber of Commerce for $20,000, Kids One Transport for 2,000, JBS Mental Health for $5,000, the St. Clair County Economic Development Council for $75,000,  the United Way for $1,000, the Boys and Girls Club for $17,000, the St. Clair Children’s Policy Council for $4,000, the St. Clair Children’s Advocacy Center for $4,000, the American Red Cross for $2,500, YWCA of Central Alabama for $2,000, Pell City DARE for $10,000, St. Clair County Airport Authority for $15,000, The Council of the Arts for $1,500 and Lakeside Hospice for $2,500;

—Approved an appropriations agreement with the St. Clair Soil and Water Conservation District for $3,000, with Councilman Jason Mitcham abstaining from the vote;

—Approved an appropriations agreement with the ARC of St. Clair County for $7,500, with Councilman Jay Jenkins abstaining from the vote.

 

Taylor Mitchell is a Daily Home reporter covering Pell City.