Grinding concrete, clouds of dust and lots of barricades surround the Jackson County Courthouse Square in Northeast Alabama as the historic county seat gets a town square makeover.
The $1.5 million project involves installing new sidewalks and redesigning the traffic pattern.
The contractor on the project, Cody Lambert, owner of Lambert Contracting LLC, said the project is ahead of schedule and could keep that pace into completion.
"It's scheduled for December completion, but we're a little ahead of schedule and we might finish early," Lambert said Thursday as he stood in the gravel in front of a bakery and an interior design shop on East Peachtree Street.
With luck and good weather, the project should be completed in November, Lambert said.
Scottsboro city engineer Josh Little said city and construction officials hope to wrap up before Thanksgiving to return the sidewalks to the retail stores and shoppers around the square for the Christmas shopping season. Construction started April 17.
Some shop owners on the square have complained, he said, but most aren't inconvenienced more than a couple of days.
"They're doing a block in about two to three weeks," Little said.
Little said the old sidewalks — a pea-gravel design that harks back to the 1970s or so — and brick-stamp pavers will be replaced from the building fronts to the curb and gutter line.
"We're pulling all that up and going back with a colored concrete," Little said. The colored concrete already poured is a brown that will lighten as it cures, he said.
Some trees also are being removed as part of the project, "but we're going to save the ones we can, especially the larger, mature trees," Little said.
A separate landscaping project will begin in the fall, Little said. Lambert Contracting is prepping planting areas and installing an irrigation system, but the landscape work will happen later under another contract.
The double-loop traffic design around the courthouse — which dates back to the 1960s — will be modified to allow for better links from the inner loop to the outer loop and a new parking design in front where patrol cars park now.
The work includes a handicapped parking design for more space under new Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, Little said. With the modifications to those spaces, about eight to 10 parking spaces were lost.
Traffic control still will be left to street signs. Little noted that was what folks in Scottsboro were used to and signs keep drivers' eyes at street level where pedestrians walk.
The $1.5 million project is funded by an 80/20 local match grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation, a $200,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant and about $400,000 in funding from the city and $100,000 from the county, Little said.
Contact staff writer Ben Benton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6569.