Our Opinion

Published 6:54 am Wednesday, July 26, 2006

By Staff
Public hearing is big step
Alabama officials seem to be taking on of the biggest first steps - at least publicly - toward a four-lane route from Brewton to Interstate 65.
The Alabama Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing Aug. 17 to let the public know about plans to widen Alabama 41.
The project - which has been estimated in the past at about $150 million - would be a boon to our area for a number of reasons.
Most important for us are the economic benefits such a route to the interstate could bring. Companies looking to locate in smaller communities always want the fastest, easiest route to an interstate.
But also important are the benefits the widening of the road could bring to those trying to escape a hurricane. Not only do residents of the Florida panhandle come through Brewton, but with stronger storms coming our way, Brewton residents themselves could be looking for a way out.
Alabama officials are already working on plans to widen Alabama 113 from Flomaton to I-65. Choosing which route to four-lane - whether it's the road from Brewton, Atmore or Flomaton - has long been a source of contention in the county.
With funding almost in place for the 113 project, that doesn't mean the 41 project won't come to pass - or that it shouldn't.
We need more than one four-lane route through our county, to boost economic development in all of our communities and to provide as many safe passages in a storm as we can.
We urge folks to attend the August public hearing to see the plans in person and to show support for the project.