An infrastructure project totaling approximately $2 million is coming to Tuscaloosa County for industrial access road and bridge improvement.

The funding will enhance Wallace Ferry and Blackburn Road, which is the main access point for the Shoal Creek Mine. The project will see the resurfacing and striping of nearly seven miles of the two-lane roadway that services the mine.

Shoal Creek Mine, first developed in 1994 and acquired by Peabody Energy in 2018, is a major employer in Tuscaloosa County and significant financial contributor to the area and state.


In announcing the infrastructure project, Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) hailed the collaboration among governmental entities in securing the funding.

“I am proud to have played a part in facilitating the Industrial Access Road and Bridge grant funding and appreciate the diligent efforts displayed by the Tuscaloosa County Commission and the Alabama Department of Transportation,” said Reed. “Effective economic development continues to be a priority but supporting and sustaining current industries is just as crucial.

“Shoal Creek mine is an invaluable employer in my district, and I stand strong in continuing to be an advocate for the coal mining industry.”

Peabody Energy has invested nearly $50 million on development, construction and equipment at Shoal Creek Mine since fiscal year 2020, according to Reed’s office. The investment has resulted in an increase of more than 280 jobs, with 28 full-time employees expected to be added to the company’s workforce.

Echoing Reed’s sentiments surrounding governmental cooperation, Tuscaloosa County Commissioner Stan Acker said the project had “been a long-term priority” of his.

“The surface improvement to Wallace Ferry Road has been a long-term priority in my county commission district and I am appreciative of the support we are receiving from the state with this Industrial Access Grant,” said Acker. “The work to secure this grant from our Tuscaloosa County Engineering Department in conjunction with Senator Reed and his office has been a model of cooperation and teamwork.

“The Tuscaloosa County Commission and Probate Judge Robertson have been a tremendous asset in this process in approving the matching funds to help bring this project to fruition.”

Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL