There is good news coming for the many Madison residents who take Old Madison Pike to Research Park every day.
“The good news for Old Madison Pike,” says Mayor Paul Finley, “is that we’re just about at the point where people will start seeing orange traffic cones and yellow flashing lights.”
It’s something many residents have been waiting on for years, and Finley says that the funding has actually been in place since the Siegelman administration.
“Working with Mayor Battle and Chairman Gillespie in 2009 we prioritized that project again, and Governor Riley, in February of 2009, recommitted the money to improve it. So it’s taken two years, but the engineering drawings have now been approved through all levels.”
The project will consist of a four-lane road over Indian Creek connecting Research Park with Madison Pike. In addition, sidewalks will be added to connect sidewalks along Old Madison Pike with those along Research Park and improve the parking area at the south end of the Indian Creek Greenway.
“All of that is in place,” Finley said Wednesday morning. “It will start the latter part of this year. It will probably be a year or year and a half project, but eventually it will be what everyone in town knows it should be, which is the fulfillment of that artery to its fullest.”
Cooperation between Huntsville and Madison has been a hallmark of Finley’s time in office, and he says that he and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle both agreed that any history between the two cities needed to be put aside.
“I think both Mayor Battle and I realized we couldn’t do anything about the past and why it was or wasn’t completed. What we looked at was that it’s imperative that we improve the safety and efficiency of that section of road.”
Just as important, both officials believe the new road project will not benefit just one city or the other but have positive effects for both.
“In Huntsville’s case, they want Madison residents to be better able to access Bridge Street and the Research Park area,” Finley said, “so it’s a benefit to them for our residents to have easier access. In Madison’s case, most folks are working in that area and trying to make it home, so it makes that more efficient where it cuts their travel time and makes it safer going over Indian Creek.
“It’s a benefit to both cities,” he continued. “We saw that, and with everyone being a Madison County resident we all prioritized that project, got the commitment of the remaining funding from Governor Riley, and have now worked to get it started.”
Residents can expect to see work beginning on that section of Old Madison Pike later this year.
By Drew Woolley