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Concerns growing over Eufaula’s historic road

The four-lane dispute in Eufaula continues. People in the historic city are opposed to the state's plan to make Eufaula Avenue a four-lane road. And the Alabama Department of Transportation is now laying the foundation for some permanent traffic cameras. WDHN's Valencia Jones shares why this has the community concerned.
Members of the Save North Eufaula Avenue group say red lights controlled by the state slowed up traffic on the North Eufaula Avenue stretch of U.S. 431 on May 23, 2014.
Members of the Save North Eufaula Avenue group say red lights controlled by the state slowed up traffic on the North Eufaula Avenue stretch of U.S. 431 on May 23, 2014.
Opponents of the state's plan to create a four-lane road in the historic district say it would ruin the city's tourism, which is its main source of revenue.
Opponents of the state's plan to create a four-lane road in the historic district say it would ruin the city's tourism, which is its main source of revenue.
The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) told WDHN reporter Valencia Jones the state plans to study the Eufaula Avenue traffic situation over the summer. 

ALDOT Director John Cooper says he plans to have an arborist study how a four-lane road would affect the trees along the street.  In addition, he says the state will look into alternate routes to address the people's concerns. 

But after meeting with him just two weeks ago, community leaders aren't buying it.

"He said that he would not do any study that took into consideration those concerns expressed by those citizens.  The only thing he's going to look at is traffic count in formation, the synchronization of traffic lights, and some other minor issues," said Douglas Purcell, one of the founders and a current member of the Eufaula-Randolph Neighborhood Association.

The state is already working to install traffic cameras, but since the state controls the red lights, people fear they're deliberately building up traffic.

The community group called Save North Eufaula Avenue is reaching out to state legislators and other organizations for support.

"Our next step is to meet with Governor Bentley and Senator Billy Beasley on behalf of the City of Eufaula, and we’re attempting to schedule that meeting now."

Community leaders aren’t satisfied with the state's decision to not consider a bypass, because they say ALDOT is overestimating the cost.

"He keeps talking about it's a 120, 150, 170 million dollar project, so he's all over the place on his estimate for a bypass."

They say there's a better solution.

"Allow the City of Eufaula to bring its own consultants in and coordinate with the Department of Transportation to come up with a solution that will satisfy all citizens and protect North Eufaula Avenue, which is Alabama's signature street."

Community leaders hope to meet with state lawmakers within the next ten days.

The Eufaula-Randolph Neighborhood Association is looking at possible litigation as a last resort.  They plan to meet with attorneys next week to discuss that option.
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