One county bridge project remains under RAMP

Published 1:55 pm Wednesday, August 2, 2017

By EMILY REED / Special to the Reporter

All but one project covered under the Rural Assistance Match Program has been completed in Chilton County.

RAMP allowed counties throughout Alabama to take part in former Gov. Robert Bentley’s statewide road improvement initiative, called the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP).

Funding for RAMP allowed every county in Alabama the opportunity to improve both roads and bridges, to help with public safety across the state.

Chilton County engineer Tony Wearren said there were 11 projects covered under RAMP for the county, and as of August, the only project remaining was a bridge replacement project on County Road 2.

Wearren said the project had already been let out for contract, and the county was waiting to receive word from ALDOT on when pre-construction could begin, but anticipated it could happen within the next couple of weeks.

“We have done really well with all of the RAMP projects,” Wearren said. “Especially considering the fact that we did all of the engineering in-house, all of the inspections in-house, and we beat the deadline, which was this upcoming October to have all of the projects let out for contract. Our last project was submitted in June so we were six months ahead of schedule on that.”

ATRIP was established by Bentley to help local areas access funding needed for essential road and bridge improvements.

The RAMP initiative was available to counties that were unable to meet the 20-percent local funding match required to participate in ATRIP.

To complement ATRIP, RAMP was established by Senate Bill 192, which Bentley signed into law in April 2013.

The first priority for funding in reach RAMP county was the replacement of county bridges posted for school bus traffic and eligible for federal funds.

Once all eligible bridge replacement needs were fulfilled, local governments were then able to request funding for other road improvement projects.

Some of the larger projects completed under RAMP included two resurfacing projects on County Road 29 and County Road 48, a striping project was completed on County Road 73, and a resurfacing project on County Road 42 in Jemison.

Wearren said the resurfacing project was covered under ATRIP, but the bridge replacement on County Road 42 was covered under RAMP.

There was also a project completed on County Road 50, and a resurfacing project on County Road 16.

Initially, there were delays with many of the projects as counties from across the state began submitting projects to ALDOT, creating an overload of projects to be approved.

“At first everything bottle-necked,” Wearren said. “There was a delay with some of the projects, but once everything got sorted out a lot of these projects were approved, and we were able to start working on them. We were submitting stuff in bulk, and it was kind of amazing.”

Most of the projects were completed at the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017, according to Wearren.