Zierdt Road Improvements
Published on April 24, 2017
This is a four-phase, multi-jurisdictional project along Zierdt Road from Madison Boulevard to Martin Road. The road is being widened to 4-lanes with a 12-foot wide multi-use path on the west side of the roadway. The project is 3.5 miles long and will be bid and constructed in phases as right-of-way is acquired and funding is made available.
The final phase (IV) of improvements on Zierdt Road will consist of 3.5 miles of 2- Southbound lanes, 12-foot multi-use path on the west side, 7-lanes at the intersection of Martin/ Zierdt and 6-lanes at the intersection of Madison/Zierdt. The intersection work will take the longest since both will be constructed while under traffic conditions.
The project is in Phase IV of four phases (southbound lanes & intersections). The contractor will continue to shift traffic between Madison Boulevard and Edgewater Drive to complete road work in this area.
Currently, the contractor is focused on the north end of the project near Madison Boulevard installing storm drain, grading, pouring curb and concrete medians. Utility relocations are complete at the Madison Boulevard intersection. The contractor will be installing new signal poles and pavement in this area during March and April. The contractor is focusing efforts on completing the north end before the start of baseball season in April 2020.
New signals, curb & gutter and landscaping in the median island, multiuse path, milling and resurfacing and striping will be installed on Madison Boulevard. Upon completion of this section, the new intersection of Madison Boulevard and all four lanes on Zeirdt Road will be fully functional through this area. The contractor will also be raising the northbound lanes near Lady Ann Lake to relieve flooding. The roadway will be raised approximately 2-feet to address clogged pipes under the existing roadway as well as stormwater increase in the area.
To prepare for shifting traffic to the northbound lanes for the remiander of the roadway, the contractor is also installing new signals and a new lane shift just south of Mountainbrook Drive. The lane shift will merge all traffic to the northbound lanes between Edgewater Drive and Martin Road. Lanes will also shift at the new signals on Martin Road intersection to accommodate all traffic on east and north side of this intersection to finish work on the reminder of the intersection. After the intersection of Madison Boulevard and 4-lanes on Zierdt Road are completed, then all traffic will shift to the northbound lanes between Edgewater Drive and Martin Road as the contractor reconstructs the existing roadway and Martin Road intersection.
The project is anticipated to be complete in fall 2021, weather permitting.
See Zierdt Road FAQs below.
Updated May 20, 2020
COST & FUNDING
Estimated Cost: $21 Million
Source of Funding: Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP)
Contractor: Wiregrass Construction Co.
Zierdt Road is a major infrastructure project proceeding in accordance with federal funding requirements. Projected to be a 10-12 year project, Zierdt is now in its fourth and final phase of work.
No. Zierdt Road is a multijurisdictional project proceeding in accordance with federal criteria. Unlike other City-funded and managed projects, the roadwork involves the Federal Highway Administration, State of Alabama, Redstone Arsenal, Madison County, and the cities of Huntsville and Madison. The Alabama Department of Transportation administers the funding for construction per federal regulations. Through every step of the process, State and cities must meet federal regulations for design and construction standards, environmental assessment procedures, and acquiring right of way. There are no shortcuts in this lengthy federal process.
Yes. Several years into the project design, public input sessions asked for the addition of a pedestrian and bike path. A 12-foot-wide multiuse path was added on the west side changing the scope of work and the need to acquire additional right of way affecting the construction timeline. Due to scope changes and rising construction costs, what began as a $7 million project for one intersection eventually climbed to $25 million; taking the project from Martin Road through the intersection of Zierdt Road and Madison Boulevard. Federal and State entities are paying 80 percent of the cost with Huntsville paying 15 percent and Madison 5 percent.
Zierdt Road is a phased project. The Zierdt project started design in 2010 with a plan to widen the 3.5-mile road, from Madison Boulevard to Martin Road, to four lanes. Money was scarce so the project was divided into four phases to ensure resources were available to pay for the work. In 2009, the decision was made to dedicate funds from the Metropolitan Planning Organization in four phases, every three years, to finance the road improvements. Each project phase would take an estimated two to four years to complete. Contractors have completed three phases and are currently working on the final phase of the project.
Yes. Through each phase of construction, Zierdt Road has been kept functional for traffic. Closing the road for expedited completion was not an option in this location. Even with the inconvenience for motorists, Zierdt Road is in better shape and can accommodate traffic just as it did before work started. Meanwhile, Huntsville has moved forward with work to widen Martin Road, and make improvements to the northbound lanes near Edgewater Drive to ease future maintenance and flooding concerns. When complete, the City will have invested $70 million in new infrastructure to improve Gate 7/Martin/Zierdt Road.
No. This project is unique in many ways, some of which we have explained in the previous questions and answers – federally funded, federal guidelines and criteria, multi-jurisdictional, phased project, road open to traffic during construction, extensive right of way acquisition, change of scope, weather delays, etc. The graphic below may help illustrate some of the key differences.
Cecil Ashburn is not yet complete and work was not slowed down by weather conditions since it involved blasting rock on top of a mountain while Zierdt Road is being constructed in a low lying wet area that requires many feet of fill to raise the roadway. The contractor only had three working days in January due to wet site conditions.
Yes. The project includes widening and raising the intersection of Martin/Zierdt to seven lanes and Madison/Zierdt to six lanes. The intersection work will take the longest since both will be built while traffic is still flowing. To ease traffic congestion, crews may only work on the intersections from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or at night and on weekends because of critical traffic flow in these areas.
At present, the contractor is focused on completing the north end of the project near Madison Boulevard before the start of baseball season in April. This involves installing storm drains, grading, pouring curb and concrete medians and resolving utility conflicts. Again, the contractor is working during off-peak hours and at night to keep traffic flowing safely.
Federally funded road projects have different criteria for delays than those managed by the City of Huntsville. As of January 27, 2020, the contractor on this final phase of the project has completed 156 working days of the allotted 450 working days. This is due to weather and site conditions along with utility conflicts at intersections.
The good news is that contractors are in the final phase of these improvements. Zierdt Road traffic is expected to shift to the northbound lanes in late spring 2020 following the installation of new traffic signals. The contractor can then finish the Martin Road intersection and focus efforts on rebuilding the existing southbound lanes and multi-use paths to complete the entire project. If you notice the elevation of intersections – the new roadway sections will be brought up to these levels to prevent flooding.
The project should finish in Fall 2021, but we are fully aware inclement weather could create further delays. Even if the day is sunny after a rainy period, the wet ground can prevent contractors from working.
We can’t control the weather, but please know that all federal, state and local entities involved continue to press the contractor to move as quickly as possible to complete the project. There is light at the end of the tunnel, the final result is residents will end up with a highly functioning corridor, complete with bike and walking paths, and the ability to support future growth.
Updated May 20, 2020