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Work on Hughes Road expected to wrap by end of 2022

MADISON – Orange-and-white striped barrels have become an annoying partner for anyone who has driven on Hughes Road in recent years.

These construction barrels have been a needed caution during the City of Madison’s project to extend Hughes Road to five lanes. The project starts at Plaza Boulevard (to the south) and ends at Millsford Drive (to the north, which is between Eastview Drive and Gillespie Road).

The distance for the project covers approximately 1.5 miles, according to Samantha Magnuson, Communications Director for the City of Madison.

“The Hughes project went to bid (in) late 2019 and was originally slated to wrap up by March 30, 2021,” Magnuson said. “The project will five-lane Hughes Road, starting at Plaza Boulevard, with the scope of Phase 1 to extend the five lanes from Plaza to Millsford Drive.”

“We see heavy traffic along Hughes during school and work commute hours. This project will alleviate those issues,” Magnuson said.

Not limited to only repaving, “the project is a full widening project to five lanes and has required coordination with our local utility companies while drainage systems are added,” Magnuson said.

Carcel & G Construction was contracted for the road work.

The project’s delay has resulted from numerous conflicts. “A lack of workers due to COVID-19 and staffing issues from the contractor’s end, as well as utility conflicts with Huntsville and Madison utility companies to ensure no interruptions to their services,” Magnuson said.

One major delay involves Madison Utilities needing to move lines on the east side of Hughes Road. “The existing sewer and proposed storm infrastructure are both gravity systems and relatively shallow so they take up the same space,” Magnuson said.

“Where the two separate systems cross each other, conflict boxes will be required . . . since the sanitary pipe will be within the storm box. It is not preferred, and the reason for the conflict box is to allow for future cleanout — should the pipe clog,” Magnuson said.

“We are working through the waterline conflicts, which are anticipated to be re-routed around the proposed storm system,” she said. Other utilities involved are AT&T, Uniti Fiber, NAGD, Comcast, WOW and Huntsville Utilities.

To allow traffic to resume in lanes that are closed now, some residents have suggested to apply a crush run at the drop-off so workers can move barrels. “If crush run is dense graded aggregate, there would be a washing issue during storm events, and it would require frequent rework to keep it useable as a travel lane,” Magnuson said.

“Traffic striping is another issue that would have to be considered for temporary measures since the current traffic control does not account for two northbound lanes,” she said. “The aggregate base would also introduce gravel to the roadway and potentially potholes. When gravel and potholes are present, there is an increase in the number of claims that are received for vehicle damage.”

Another resident’s suggestion is to use $20,000 originally designated for the Eastview Drive/Victoria Drive roundabout (now delayed) to fund the crush run on Hughes Road. “I don’t have a number for how much aggregate base would cost for the entire length of the project. But I don’t think the potential number of claims or the required upkeep as a temporary fix would make this cost effective,” Magnuson said.

The city expects the project to be finished and operational by the end of 2022. The city posts project updates on the home page for www.madisonal.gov.

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