The city Mobile, on Thursday, began the first phase of a $14.5 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant project aimed at a complete rebuild of the Broad Street area.
Amongst the orange cones and trucks meant to signify the beginning of construction, Mayor Stimpson told members of the media standing near the main campus of Bishop State Community College it was “very gratifying” to see this work starting.
“A big part of TIGER is connections to opportunities,” Stimpson said. “When it’s finished, this project will help connect these communities here to new jobs being created at the Brookley Aeroplex.”
The city will begin the project with the first phase, from Lawrence Street to Canal Street, Stimpson said, which has a two-year timeline. A second phase continuing from Canal to Brookley will take another two years, Stimpson added.
The city took some criticism earlier this year for the way work on a drainage project along Florida Street was handled. At the time, Stimpson said the city has learned from mistakes made on that project. At Thursday’s press conference, he had Public Works Director Jim DeLapp explain the tweaks that will be used over the course of the TIGER project.
DeLapp said the city will better communicate with business owners and the community as work progresses than it did during the Florida Street project, which disrupted operations for a number of businesses along the highly-trafficked midtown road.
Better communication would mean a better understanding of the project phases and the shifts in traffic that will be needed during the two-year window, DeLapp said.
In a statement earlier this week, city officials warned travelers along Broad and Beauregard streets to look out for construction crews. When construction is finished those same travelers can expect to see two lanes in each direction, instead of the current three as well as roadway surface improvements, separated bike lanes, wide sidewalks, landscaping, drainage improvements, utility updates and new signals and lighting.
Mobile City Council Vice President Levon Manzie, who represents the area impacted by the construction of phase one, praised the city for its efforts to go for the federal grant, even after failing to secure the funding in two previous attempts.
“The third time’s the charm,” he told reporters.
According to Manzie, the project will be positive not only for Broad Street, but also for residents and businesses along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.
“This is a great day not only for Mobile, but for the residents in District 2,” he said. “I’m impressed with how this corridor will be revitalized.”
While he described the news as positive, Manzie did ask residents for their patience as construction on the TIGER grant project progresses over the next four years.
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