Residents, leaders voice opinions about future of Alabama Highway 41

Published 9:29 am Monday, August 21, 2006

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
Alabama Department of Transportation officials brought a blank canvas - other than the existing Alabama 41 map - to a public meeting Thursday about the future of the highway.
And many residents filled comment cards and engineers' ears with their ideas for the roadway, many of which included constructing a bypass around Brewton that would take the Alabama 41 near Pea Ridge Road down to U.S. 31, near the industrial park.
For Brewton officials, those needs include economic development and hurricane evacuation.
Thursday night's meeting at T.R. Miller High School drew at least 50 people in the first hour. Many came expecting to see a proposal, but ALDOT engineers said they simply wanted to hear the public's take on what should happen to Alabama 41.
Project manager Jackie Glasgow said Thursday's meeting would be the first of several public hearings in the process to determine how to improve the highway. The first meeting was one to see if there is &#8220justification to make it an evacuation route,” Glasgow said.
Glasgow had not heard any residents say they didn't want the four-lane project - but some had different ideas about what should be done.
Residents Barbara Hall and Betty Hoomes - who lives on Alabama 41, south of Pea Ridge Road - agreed there needs to be a bypass to take the road to U.S. 31.
But Glasgow, who has not studied the area in-depth, said a bypass to the west of the current route could have its own problems.
ALDOT has a preliminary cost estimate of $43 million for four-laning Alabama 41 - but that's if the road stays along its current route. Other estimates have put the project, including the bypass, at at least $100 million.
Glasgow said ALDOT does not have a timeline for the project.
But Jennings said he thinks four-laning at the Interstate 65 exit could begin in the next 18 months.
&#8220I think we're close on that,” he said. &#8220We're competing with a lot of people for funding, but we can develop a plan that serves the purposes we need.”
Alabama and Florida officials are already working on a four-lane project for Alabama 113, which runs through Flomaton and connects Florida to Interstate 65.
Escambia County officials pledged $50,000 toward that project.
In fact, he said, both projects can help the entire county. &#8220People will be amazed at the economic development that will happen in this area. It will raise the quality of life for everybody.”
ALDOT will continue to accept public comment for 10 business days.
Anyone interested in making a suggestion for the improvements on Alabama 41 can fax them to 251-478-5792 or e-mail them to

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