FOLEY – Foley’s upcoming road resurfacing and repair program will include traffic islands on South Alston Street to determine if similar structures might work on Alabama 59.

The Foley City Council approved base bids for resurfacing and street repair projects at a cost of $1.49 million. The contract also included four additions to the main bid for other street projects.

One of the additions is $65,604 to build a traffic island in the center of Alston Street between West Orange Avenue and West Myrtle Avenue. Mayor Ralph Hellmich said the project could help city officials determine if similar construction could help with traffic problems on Alabama 59, one block to the east.

Drivers on Alabama 59 sometimes use the center turn lane to drive more than a block to get around other traffic. Other drivers pulling into the middle lane to make a legal turn sometimes have to avoid these cars traveling up the center of the road.

Hellmich said the Alston Street project will help officials study how useful traffic islands can be on Foley streets.

“This will be a low-cost test, so to speak,” Hellmich said. “We want to place that in the middle. It will still be two lanes. There will still be turns. The most impact will be on the south end of that little section. There are a couple of businesses there, but they’re within less than 30 yards of the intersection, so I don’t believe it’s going to be that big a deal.”

The mayor said the project will be designed to protect the trees along the route.

Foley officials also plan to install lighting in the oak trees along the same section of Alston Street. The system, known as moon lighting, would illuminate the tree trunks and branches and reflect onto the street.

“What that will do is place lighting in the trunk of the tree up high where you can’t see it until it lights up the canopy, which will reflect down and it will brighten up Alston Street and will help pedestrians,” Hellmich said. “It’s a pretty dark road and it will help businesses along the way.”

The mayor said city officials will meet with business and property owners in the area to discuss the street and lighting projects.

“We will talk to them and make sure they understand what the advantages are,” Hellmich said.

Another addition to the project will be improvements to the parking lot of Riviera Utilities at a cost of $121,780. The city will share the cost of that project with Riviera, Hellmich said.

Other projects include alleyway improvements and work on Canterberry Circle.