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Balch Road extension would add another major north-south route

By By Mitch Freeman Madison County Record
Creation of another north-south route between U.S. Highway 72 and Madison Boulevard is among Madison road improvement plans, according to City Engineer Jo Somers.
Balch Road, which connects with U.S. Highway 72, will be extended south to Westchester Road, which connects with Madison Boulevard. The capital improvement budget contains $1.5 million for land acquisition and engineering.
She said the project is on the request list for possible 80/20 percent federal and state funding.
Another $1.5 million is budgeted to improve Wall Triana. Somers said the engineering design work is being done to widen Wall Triana, north and south of Gillespie, and Gillespie, east and west of Wall Triana. Center turn lanes would be added from all four directions, going into the intersection. This project would also include a five-foot wide sidewalk along the west side of Wall Triana and a four-foot wide bike path on both sides of Wall Triana.
Construction to widen the southern most section of County Line Road will get underway, pending utility line relocation. In a state funded project, County Line Road will be converted to five lanes, from the Norfolk-Southern Railroad overpass, to Madison Boulevard. Projected completion is fall 2005, according to Somers.
There is a plan to connect County Line Road with I-565, as well. Somers is working with the state highway department to build a ramp that would allow eastbound access to I-565 from County Line Road. The ramp would be located on the south side of I-565, such that southbound traffic on County Line Road, would cross over I-565 and turn west onto a circular ramp, to gain eastbound access I-565.
Westbound access to I-565 from County Line Road is already in place, by turning west onto Madison Boulevard, from County Line Road.
Another ramp would be built west of County Line Road, to allow westbound traffic on I-565 to exit onto Madison Boulevard.
Traffic traveling eastbound on I-565 can already exit, west of Madison and get to County Line Road, via old highway 20.
Somers' estimates a cost of around $1 million to install the two proposed ramps. She said this project is not yet funded. However, Somers is hopeful that federal monies can be acquired to fund 80 percent of the project. The city council has tentatively committed $200,000 for the remaining 20 percent.
A variety of modifications are planned for the intersection at Sullivan Street, Palmer Road and Main Street, according to Somers' plan. Sullivan Street would be raised on the north side of the railroad crossing, to eliminate the dip in the road. A turn lane would be installed on Palmer Road, to allow traffic to turn north onto Sullivan Street. A traffic light, which would work in conjunction with railroad crossing control, would round out improvements to the intersection.
Funding is in place for this project, which Somers estimates would cost $350,000. She said nine property acquisitions would have to be completed, before construction could start.
Eastview would be extended from Hughes Road to Wall Triana. The Eastview extension plan would route the road just north of Bob Jones High School and provide direct access to the school. This project had been under funded by some $600,000, according to Somers. She projected the cost of this project to be about $900,000. The city council has tentatively increased the funding to pay for a portion of the project.
Another road extension project would extend Gillespie Road to County Line Road, at a projected cost of some $1.1 million. Somers said this project is planned for the 2005 time frame and is another candidate for 80 percent federal funding. According to her plan, Browns Ferry would be disconnected from County Line Road and connected to the extended Gillespie Road. By rerouting Browns Ferry to intersect with Gillespie Road, a five-point intersection at County Line Road would be avoided. Browns Ferry and Gillespie would intersect east of County Line Road.
The city of Madison and Madison County are working together to build a second roadway into Palmer Park. The project plan includes a new paved parking area for approximately 250 vehicles. This project was another project lacking funding, but the city council has tentatively allocated $130,000, for Madison's part of the project. The new road to Palmer Park will be located east of the existing park entrance.
Somers' plan includes widening Wall Triana to three lanes, between Browns Ferry and Gooch Lane.
A plan to repair the northern portion of County Line Road is pending investigation to determine the cause of structural faults.
Lanier Road resurfacing is planned for this year. Funding is in place for resurfacing the north-south portion of Lanier Road.
The east-west portion of Lanier, Palmer Road, Madison Boulevard and Gooch Road are future candidates for resurfacing.

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