By Adam Smith

The North Jefferson News

Drivers who use Corridor X to commute to work have a new way to get on and off the four-lane highway this morning.

At 7:30 a.m. today, a new 1.8-mile section of the road from Cherry Avenue to Coalburg Road opened to traffic.

The contract for the $8.13 million project began in April, two months after bids were let.

Bryan Davis with the Alabama Department of Transportation said the new section of road will give drivers another way to get on and off Corridor X. However, he said it will also reduce traffic in residential neighborhoods.

“By taking it down to Coalburg, it should lighten the traffic on Cherry Avenue and turn it back into the quiet, tranquil road people are used to,” he said.

Davis said while the new section will be open for traffic, the end date for construction on that segment is slated for January. Otherwise, he said the new phase is “99.7 percent complete.”

“We have to get the final pavement markers on the county road crossovers complete and then we’ll have a final inspection and note anything that needs to be changed,” he said. “That January deadline will give us a little time.”

Once complete, Corridor X will become Interstate 22 and will provide a 96-mile connection from Birmingham to Memphis. Davis said he optimistically projects the Corridor X to be connected to Interstate 65 by fall of 2013. However, he said government and state funding and weather were the biggest issues facing the project.

“We don’t have a highway bill right now and we have a congress that’s more worried about health care [than road construction],” he said. “Our office is a little reluctant to let a $250 million job when everything looks iffy in Washington.”

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