Houston County, AL - Your daily commute may have been delayed over the past year. That's because nineteen roads in Houston County have been getting upgrades thanks to funding through Alabama's Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP).
“We didn't really have a single road that was in dire need of repair, but we had a lot of roads that needed some repair,” said Houston County Engineer Barkley Kirkland.
The projects were awarded in three separate phases. The money could only be used on federally funded roads. Dirt roads were not eligible.
Most roads are like Fortner Street, they just needed to be resurfaced. While all this work may seem like an inconvenience now leaders say it will be worth it.
"It's a huge deal. We get to improve the safety and rideability, you know, they talk about dollars coming in, we normally get $530,000 a year and we got almost $20 million in a year. So it's allowed us to do a lot of paving that would have taken us twenty years to do," said Kirkland.
Out of the nineteen projects, ten are in Houston County and nine within the Dothan city limits.
It's about a $24 million impact on the area.
The ATRIP program requires local governments to match funding by at least twenty percent. For counties unable to meet the match a companion program, RAMP, was created.
“If a county took the ramp program, it meant they didn't have to pay the match, but it also meant they were forever, and ever, amen out of ATRIP. So they could not get any additional funds in the third round,” said Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver.
However Houston County didn't have to take that route.
Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz and Culver said their partnership was important.
“When this all came down, a lot of the cities and counties would fight over the money. We sat down and worked it out. This was a win, win, win,” said Schmitz.
Henry County chose to use the RAMP program. It was allotted $5.6 million in ATRIP funding resulting in seven road improvement projects.