By Adam Smith

The North Jefferson News

Construction crews could soon get a green light to begin work on the widening of Mt. Olive Road by the end of this month.

Alabama Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Harris said the project has been awarded to R.E. Grills Construction Co. Inc. out of Birmingham in the amount of $2.78 million.

However, Harris said the state has not issued a notice to proceed. He said ALDOT is working with the contractor and other parties on utility relocation issues.

“We’re trying to resolve those as quick as we can and we will hold off for a short period of time before issuing a notice to proceed,” Harris said. “Normally we have those types of things resolved by the time we let bids on a contract, but there must be something that has emerged that was unforeseen.”

Harris said that the contractor will hopefully be able to start work on the project by the end of the month.

The repaving of Mt. Olive Road represents the biggest hurdle in the completion of Caufield Square, $50 million mixed-use development, combining retail, office and residential components.

Bob Jones of Palladium Properties said developers met with the contractor in November and said it would likely be February before work began on the road project. He said in a statement that “their timetable was dependent upon utilities being relocated.”

Work on the Caufield Square site has continued, despite several delays on the road widening project. Crews have been involved in sewer and other utility work on the site over the past several months.

Gardendale Mayor Kenny Clemons said officials from Fultondale Gas have been in the process of moving utilities on Mt. Olive Road.

Additionally, work may soon begin on a road that will connect Mt. Olive Road to Odum Road in Gardendale.

The construction of the road is a combined effort between the City of Gardendale, the Jefferson County Board of Education and Jefferson County.

The board of education is expected to vote on the road project at a future meeting. Clemons said work would start on the road soon after the school board’s approval.

“We’re trying to get it paved as quick as we can because they’re about to tear up Mt. Olive Road,” Clemons said recently.

In addition to connecting Mt. Olive and Odum roads, the new quarter-mile road will also be used to provide access to Gardendale Elementary School and will also provide an entrance to a new shopping center that will house a future Publix store. The new road will also provide a “stack lane” for school traffic, Clemons said.

Wayne Sullivan of the Alabama Department of Transportation said the work will not be done by the county but will be contracted out.

The city council also recently solicited bids for an ALDOT project that would provide for the construction of sidewalks along Odum Road. City Clerk Keith Mosley said the council would review bids at a council meeting next month and then would have to be reviewed by the state before the project is awarded.

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