Here’s why $58 million is budgeted for road repairs next year in Jefferson County


If that $58 million has you stopping in your tracks, keep reading to find out why it’s being spent on our roads. Photo via Jefferson County on Facebook

If you live in Birmingham, AL, you are no stranger to road construction! It may seem like a headache during rush hour, but better roads mean a better Magic City for all. Get up to speed on why Jefferson County has been working so hard on our roads, and learn about what’s coming up in 2020!

Why it Matters to You

None of this would be possible without Jefferson County’s great road crews. Photo via Jefferson County on Facebook

Roads are one of the most universal elements of any city. People may shop and live and hang out in different places, but everyone uses roads—that’s why they’re so important.

“Our roads and bridges are one of the most important assets of the county… with a safe and efficient travel system, we improve quality of life, industrial recruitment, getting our school buses to and from school, and getting us to and from work.”

Cal Markert, Deputy County Manager (Infrastructure)

Throughout 2019 and 2020, Jefferson County will continue to implement its five-year plan to catch up on much-needed roadwork improvements.

A familiar sight to see—it may slow down traffic, but it’s making life better here in Jefferson County. Photo via Jefferson County on Facebook

This is no small job that falls on the Jefferson County Roads and Transportation Department. In total, they’re responsible for maintaining:

  • More than 1800 miles of road
  • 11,500 drainage crossings
  • 310 bridges
  • 5,100 acres of road to mow/keep clear
  • 41,500 traffic signs
  • 434 traffic signals
  • Litter pick up

You can check out this map to see which roads are which throughout the county!

Why It’s a Priority

Hopefully, this will soon be an unusual sight on roads maintained by the County. Photo via Jefferson County on Facebook

Maintenance on the roads in Jefferson County is overdue. Years of inattention have caused pavement conditions to degrade well past the point where normal maintenance is getting the job done. Repair is requiring much more extensive removal and reconstruction to get our roads up and working!

“Two years ago we performed thorough inspection of all paved roads.  Nearly half of the road miles had a poor or lower condition rating.  Our goal is to get all of our roads up to a standard that we can be proud of.  We must invest in improving then maintaining our infrastructure.”

Cal Markert, Deputy County Manager (Infrastructure)
We’re all smiles for road improvements! Photo via Jefferson County

Think about a house—you don’t wait until the roof is already leaking to replace the shingles. You use preventative measures to keep your home in good shape.

However, to get to that point, you have to fix what’s underneath. There’s no point in putting new shingles on a caved-in roof!

Jefferson County is currently in the process of getting all roadways up to standard. That way in years to come, maintenance dollars will stretch further.

When you think about how much work actually goes into road paving, these numbers are even more impressive. Photo via Jefferson County on Facebook

Last year, the Roads and Transportation Department completed:

  • 98 miles of in-house paving
  • 25 miles of major paving projects
  • Emergency maintenance and pothole repair
  • Mowing and other maintenance activities Countywide

$58 Million—Where is it Going?

These signs aren’t going away anytime soon—but that’s a good thing! Photo via Jefferson County on Facebook

When the Jefferson County Commission passed its 2020 fiscal budget, it set aside more than $58 million for Roads and Transportation. That’s a pretty big chunk of their annual budget dedicated to roadwork and improvements.

This was a $9 million increase over fiscal year 2019 funding. That increase in funding is important to support the Department continuing to implement its five-year plan for road improvements.

The 2020 goals include:

  • Over 150 miles of paving
  • Replacement or rehabilitation of four bridges
  • Reconstruction of 20 major drainage culverts
  • A variety of other infrastructure improvement projects

“The most impactful project will be the paving program in general  – we hope to pave over 150 miles.  This will affect a significant number of citizens.”

Cal Markert, Deputy County Manager (Infrastructure)

You can check out this current projects page to see all the work being done by commission district throughout the County.

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  • A Birmingham transplant who can usually be found hitting a new hiking trail or restaurant opening when she's not writing stories and snapping photos for Bham Now.