It appears some $40-million in funding may finally be in place for major improvements along a portion of Ross Clark Circle. The money, coming mostly if not all from federal dollars, was announced Tuesday by the Alabama Department of Transportation. The funds were originally earmarked for the proposed Interstate 10 connector, a project that appears dead for the moment.
Rep. Paul Lee (R-Dothan) said the allocation was announced by John R. Cooper, ALDOT director. Lee, Mayor Mike Schmitz, City Manager Mike West, Public Works Director Jerry Corbin and County Commission Chairman Mark Culver have been involved in talks regarding the funds.
"The only thing we don't know right now is when the work can begin," Lee said. "Perhaps a bid could be awarded in 2015 but it could also be early 2016 before construction commences. The sooner the better as far as we're concerned."
Lee said the improvements, including intersection upgrades, will be done along the Circle from Montgomery Highway to Bauman Drive, a 2.8 mile stretch. The lawmaker said they will be similar to the ones recently completed along U.S. 231 between the Circle and Napier Field Road.
The Circle project has been on the drawing board several years. Originally, it was hoped work could begin in 2008 but an ailing economy and rising construction prices put the project on the back burner.