Transportation Summit Features Updates; Focus on the Future

Officials from the City of Northport, City of Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama and the Alabama Department of Transportation spoke to a sold out crowd at the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama's annual Transportation Summit July 26, focusing not only on current projects, but also on future technology.

Northport City Administrator Bruce Higginbotham discussed road improvements impacting Union Chapel Road and Highway 69; projects that are expected to improve traffic flow through realignment and turn lanes.

"These projects will not only improve traffic flow in the City of Northport, it will improve the quality of life for our citizens," Higginbotham said. "It's not just vehicular traffic, but pedestrians as well.

Higginbotham credited the Tuscaloosa County Road Improvement Commission for providing funding for Northport projects. Higginbotham also addressed downtown Northport, saying the city has applied for grant funding for a Main Avenue Streetscape project to address needed riverfront development. 

"This should have been done a long time ago," he said. "It's the highest priority. This is the most underutilized part of the city."

Jarrod Milligan, Deputy Executive Director for Infrastructure and Public Services for the City of Tuscaloosa, gave attendees an overview of the IPS department. The largest department in the city, Milligan said the department is committed to working together to do more with less.

Milligan touched on the progress of several projects, including the James I. Harrison Jr. Parkway Phase II project, and 10th Avenue improvements, which are expected to begin July 31 with resurfacing, lighting, extended sidewalks and storm drainage improvements. Project lists can be found on the City's website.

The summit closed with Nick Crane from the Alabama Department of Transportation and Dr. Alex Hainen from the University of Alabama College of Engineering, who spoke on connected technology, and how the future of the region will be affected by public-private partnerships, information and data, and multi-discipline collaborations.

The 2018 Transportation Summit was presented by Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc.

Gold Sponsors were Hunt Refining Company, McGiffert and Associates, LLC; Southland International Trucks, Inc., TTL, Inc., and WTI Transport, Inc.

Table Sponsors were JamisonMoneyFarmer PC, Rumsey Environmental and The University of Alabama.