Efforts to four-lane Highway 167 continue

Published 08/07 2014 06:22PM

Updated 08/07 2014 08:12PM

"Somebody tell us what we need to do to get this train moving again," said Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell, during a meeting with local and state officials and other city leaders.

He and other mayors say a four-lane on Highway 167 from Troy to the Florida state line would help keep and expand local businesses. But the project is going nowhere, and they met with an Alabama Department of Transportation representative today to express their concerns.

"Our concern is economic viability, making sure that our communities stay alive.  To me, it's absolutely imperative that we do everything from an elected position," Boswell said.

It would cost tens of millions of dollars, which ALDOT officials say the state cannot afford, and they say funds tied up in other state projects could be better put to use on this one.

"There's one thing that I do believe we could use some help with.  It's the piece of the pie that they take away from ALDOT that goes to different areas of the state as far as public safety, the court systems," said ALDOT 7th Division Pre-Construction Engineer Matt Leverette, who acknowledges those projects are also vital.

But after years of waiting, city leaders say it's been on the backburner long enough, and they're calling on state legislators to reach out to ALDOT for a resolution.  City leaders say there were no clear answers to the issue today, but they're hoping continued conversations will soon get the project underway.

"In terms of infrastructure, it is probably the greatest single impact for economic development that we could have for our region of the state," said Jonathan Tullos, executive director of the Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation.

Tullos says another meeting is planned within the next two to three months to continue the discussions. The project is also subject to utilities and people negotiating right of ways along the highway, and city leaders are also hoping future discussions will include the Florida Department of Transportation.

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