TAP Project for Downtown Athens


Information from the contractor and Public Works

Premiere and the city’s Water Dept. plan to start back work on the TAP Square project and the water pressure improvement project. 
:• Premiere plans to start Jan. 9 (weather permitting). This has been a very wet winter, and weather will have an impact on scheduling. Crews will start on the courthouse side of Market Street to finish that portion and finish out the remainder of the courthouse sides. This will take about 5 weeks
.• Premiere then will go to the Washington Street business side, which will take about 3 weeks. This includes extending the sidewalk, adding the new light poles, the trees, and sloping the bulb outs
.• Premiere then will go to the Jefferson Street business side, which will take about 3 weeks.Crews are going to add temporary striping at the corner crosswalks to and from the courthouse side

.• Athens Water will start on Jan. 14 on the Marion Street side to finish up its work there. This will take about 1 week with partial street closure.
• Athens Water then will cross Washington Street and go on to Jefferson Street. This will take up to 2 ½ weeks and will require blocking some of the parking area for up to 1 ½ weeks. Athens Water will start as early in the morning as possible each day and try to stop work by lunch as crews can.

Public Works is working on its 2019 paving budget and hopes to put paving The Square in for the late August timeframe. This will give time for the street cuts to settle.
  • The City knows construction is not pleasant, but the result will be a safer and more handicap accessible area for pedestrians to shop and attend events. The new lights will make The Square brighter and more welcoming for businesses that stay open later or organizations that have events.
  • Go to Street Construction and Closures page to stay updated on street and lane closures related to this project.

Overview of project

Work started the week of June 25, 2018, to improve pedestrian safety and handicap accessibility in Downtown Athens.

In 2015, the City of Athens received approval for the project from the Transportation Alternatives Program through the Alabama Department of Transportation. The project has gone through the design and bidding process. Premiere Structures received the bid at $440,156. TAP will refund the city 80 percent of the project cost.

“This is a project the city tackled before the federal government stepped in to tell us that our pedestrian areas around The Square need to meet current handicap accessibility requirements,” Mayor Ronnie Marks said. “This project also addresses a safety issue where pedestrians are crossing to and from the merchant side and courthouse side through oncoming traffic with no signalization.”

The project includes signalized corner crossings to and from the Courthouse, removing the middle crosswalks that are in oncoming traffic, making sidewalks wheelchair accessible, and installing energy efficient lighting. Athens-Limestone Tourism and Athens Rotary have supported the project with donations of $15,000 each toward the city’s funding match and the county's improvements. Athens Main Street has donated $10,000 and plans to donate an additional $5,000.

Morell Engineering and Premiere Structures are coordinating with the Mayor’s Office to help keep the public and merchants aware of the project’s progress. The Mayor’s Office is visiting with merchants this week to deliver information cards so employees and shoppers have access to the project’s purpose and timeline.

The contractor will erect construction signs on Tuesday, June 19. Premiere will start work on the Marion Street side on Monday, June 25. Weather permitting, the project’s completion date will be Oct. 1. Marion Street is the first phase. The next phase will be Market Street, then Washington Street, and the last phase Jefferson Street.

Contractors will not block storefronts. There will be safety fencing around work zones, and store patrons need to stay out of work areas. Workers will not block streets unless they encounter unforeseen obstacles, such as issues with buried utilities. If crews have to block a lane or entire street, the contractor will notify the Mayor’s Office. Updates on lane or street closures will be issued through Nixle alerts and the city’s social media sites: City of Athens, Alabama (Public Relations) on Facebook, @AthensAL on Twitter, and the city’s website at www.athensal.us. To sign up for Nixle alerts, go to https://local.nixle.com/register/ and choose to follow City of Athens and Utilities.

Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson asks motorists to use caution in the downtown area while the project is underway.

“Motorists need to slow down and pay attention to crews working on The Square and pedestrians walking around work zones,” Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson said.

Water/Wastewater Manager Frank Eskridge said his crews are coordinating with Premiere’s crews so the Water Department can replace the water mains on The Square. Eskridge said the water mains are a type of cast iron no longer in use. The Water Department crews will work from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in order to minimize traffic and convenience impacts.

The City will resurface The Square after the street cuts settle and the entire project is complete.

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