MONTGOMERY, Ala. – More than half a billion dollars’ worth of major interstate projects were announced by Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday, the largest among them being the widening of Interstate 65 for a 12-mile stretch from Calera to Alabaster, a frustratingly congested stretch of road just south of Birmingham.
Making the announcement at Hoover City Hall to a crowd of local and state officials, Ivey also unveiled a roughly 3.6-mile expansion of Interstate 59, from Interstate 459 to Chalkville Mountain Road, just out of Birmingham, as well as a new Interstate 459 interchange in Hoover.
“It was exciting to think about this announcement as I drove up 65 this morning, seeing the progress we are making around Clanton and the progress we have already made around Alabaster,” Ivey said at the announcement.
“And folks, let me tell you, this is just one of many Alabama roads benefiting from our Rebuild Alabama effort. We are all familiar with the phrase ‘no man left behind’. Well, Rebuild Alabama seeks to ensure we have no road, bridge or area of our state left behind.”
A grant program created by Ivey in 2019, Rebuild Alabama is administered by the Alabama Department of Transportation, and provides matching grants to local municipalities for infrastructure projects. The 2019 Rebuild legislation also increased the state’s tax on a gallon of gasoline by 10 cents. The tax increase was expected to raise about $320 million a year for road and bridge projects.
At an estimated cost of $300 million, the I-65 widening project will see $20 million’s worth come from local matching funds from the Shelby County Commission, and the cities of Alabaster and Calera. The project will include six bridges over rail tracks, and two bridges over County Road 26, just south of the I-65 and Interstate 31 interchange.
The I-65 widening project will have three phases, though was not given an estimated completion date. Alabama residents and state leaders have long called for I-65 to be widened, with Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth and Sen. Chris Elliot, R-Josephine, being among the loudest voices calling for action. During his visit to Montgomery, former President Donald Trump had vowed to expand I-65 from Huntsville to Mobile as one of his first actions if re-elected to office.
The I-59 expansion project, at an estimated cost $80 million, will see the highway widened a distance of about four miles from Highway 150 to I-459 in Hoover, just south of Birmingham. The I-59 widening project will be done in conjunction with the Hoover interchange, which will connect I-459 to Highway 150, and is estimated to cost $120 million.
“Improving Alabama’s infrastructure is one of my top priorities as governor,” Ivey continued. “We have been working a long time to make these announcements possible – projects totaling about a half a billion dollars. These are wise investments to Rebuild Alabama, and I am proud to get dirt churning on these all within the year.”
Since 2019, the Rebuild Alabama program has provided more than $170 million in state transportation funding, 400 miles of resurfaced roadways, and 234 new road and bridge projects across 67 counties, according to the governor’s office.