Sumter County Grant Awarded

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Livingston, Ala. The state of Alabama is investing almost $1 billion in a program to improve transportation infrastructure projects statewide. More than $10 million of that money has been awarded to Sumter County.

In all, $10,391,000 has been awarded to Sumter County from the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Project, also known as ATRIP. That money will be used to improve 22 bridges, 7 roads and for a major lighting project.

In all, between $300,000 and $350,000 of that state awarded money is going to be used to dramatically improve lighting along the Livingston exit by Interstate 20/59. That money will be used to increase the number of high powered lights that surround, or are positioned along Highway 28.

"We've got several new developments here," says Livingston Mayor Tom Tartt. "We've got a new gas station, a new fast food restaurant, and we're looking to add more. The lighting that is going to come across the interstate bridge, and all the way down this road about a mile, will certainly add to that."

Significant progress has already been made on the seven road projects that are scattered throughout the county.

"The money that we're getting now is specified for certain roads; roads that are major collectors," says Sumter County Commission Chairman, Marcus Campbell. "We have had to go out and do a road count and see how many people actually traveled on that particular road. It was the same with bridges."

"This grant money will free up some of the other funds that we have so we can do more work on the outlying roads," says District 5 Commissioner Ottice Russelle.

A total of six consultants are being brought in to help with the 22 bridge projects.

"They're being brought in because we don't have the staff to do all of the preliminary work, the surveying and layouts," says Sumter County Engineer Anthony Crear. "When we get to a certain stage I can do the work with my own staff."

The tentative time-line for completion of the projects is three years.

"The state has not given a hard deadline; they just want to see due diligence toward progress," says Crear.

ATRIP was established by Governor Robert Bentley last year. The program is funded by bonds that will be paid for with future federal dollars. It requires local governments to put up a minimum 20% match. Because Sumter County received more than $10 million, it has to supply about $2 million for all of the work.