Growing Pains: I-565 construction, new businesses coming to Madison discussed at city council work session
By Maria Rakoczy (email@example.com)
MADISON – The I-565 Town Madison fly-over ramps and economic development were main topics of discussion at Wednesday night’s city council work session.
Construction of the much-anticipated I-565 westbound exit ramps into Town Madison is beginning next week with a bang. A representative from consultant on the project, AECOM, told the council that blasting into the rock next to the interstate to make way for the fly-overs will last throughout next week causing lane closures. AECOM plans to eventually establish a detour when the girders are placed across the roadway.
“A lot of thought went into traffic control associated with this project. We studied traffic patterns, and everything we do out there is meant to minimize the impact to the traveling public from work around the holidays to work around rush hour. There’ll be time during construction where we’ll have a detour. There’ll be a complete shutdown of the roadway. It’ll be at night, and it’ll be when the girders are cast across the interstate,” the AECOM representative explained. AECOM is working with the city, police department, and contractor on the project to primarily work during low-traffic hours of the day and night.
The entire project is expected to be completed by November of 2024. It is a combined effort between the city of Madison, who is paying for the initial work, and the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) who, will manage maintenance of the ramps once construction is complete.
Mayor Paul Finley debuted a new proposed CIP list that featured the extension of Royal Dr., Bradley St., and Reserve Way, the mitigation of erosion along Portal Ln. and Mill Rd., a police and fire training center, and the Hexagon Project. The list now awaits cost estimates and the official consideration of the council.
“We kind of need to know what it’s actually going to cost and then bring council this list back with actual numbers, or close to actual numbers, where you guys could help prioritize what you wanted to do,” Finley stated.
Director of Development Services Mary Beth Broeren presented a summary of last year’s economic development and expected businesses for 2023. 2022 saw a slight, but not insignificant, increase in new businesses from 2021 and added 275,000 square feet of business space to the city. Another 269,000 square feet has already been approved or is under construction for 2023.
Broeren called the progress, “a nice number of new businesses given all of the challenges people are facing with supply chain and COVID and finding labor”.
Among the businesses expected for this year are BJ’s Wholesale, Cava Grill, Starbucks, Edgar’s Bakery, Marriott, and Region’s Bank in Town Madison and Humphrey Brothers cigar lounge and restaurant, the expansion of Lemon and Lavender, and Bellehouse, an event space, in downtown. Rocket City Armory will be opening on Plaza Blvd, Dogtopia is under construction on Hughes Blvd. Several gas stations and convenience stores will call Madison home on Hughes Blvd., Sullivan St., Madison Blvd., and County Line Rd. Madison will also welcome a FedEx distribution center, Sunbelt Rentals facility, and warehouses on Palmer Rd., Royal Dr., and in the Jetplex area.
The council was also updated on the new community center. Renovations is well underway with interior demolition having already commenced and continuing for three to four months.
The city council will being taking up several of this issues in the next city council meeting on Monday, Feb. 27, at city hall. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.