Yesterday, I had an opportunity to meet with ALDOT to discuss improvements to the highway system in the western portions of Dothan. Here is a recap of everything we discussed:
Ross Clark Circle & Highway 84 West Intersection – ALDOT has long known that this is a bottleneck and they are going to look at several scenarios for improving this intersection. These scenarios will include everything from altering the timing of the traffic signals to installing an overpass. Whichever option that is chosen, if any, will be dependent upon funding availability and community support. I shared with them that we would much prefer an overpass. With the hopes of an I-10 Connector fading, it is my opinion that we should make Highway 231 and the Circle as much like an interstate as possible. I believe making these highways “like an interstate” will be much less expensive that actually building an interstate and will do much to speed traffic and promote economic development in our area.
Widening of the Circle between Bauman Dr and 231N – I was disappointed to hear that funds are unlikely to be available soon for further widening of the Circle. With the current congressional ban on earmarks in place, money cannot be freed from the previous I-10 Connector earmark to be used for Circle improvements. The cost of widening this stretch of roadway is estimated to be $40M. As I was told, ALDOT’s annual construction budget is $50M and we cannot expect them to spend 80% of their budget on this one project. Either we will fund much of this project ourselves or we will literally have to wait for an act of Congress to get the ball rolling again.
Brannon Stand and Highway 84 Intersection – ALDOT is continuing to look at improvements to this intersection. One idea being considered, is to create an additional northbound lane on Brannon Stand where traffic would have the option of turning left onto Highway 84 or continuing straight. I think this, along with a lengthened right turn lane, would alleviate most of the current issues. As with everything else, this project is dependent upon funding availability.
Brannon Stand and Fortner Street – The project to add additional turn lanes to this intersection has been pushed back to FY 2017. I impressed upon ALDOT the concern the local citizenry has about this intersection and the need to complete this project as quickly as possible. They agreed the work was needed, but stressed that there is only so much money to go around and reminded doubtful that the project timeline could be accelerated.
Widening of Highway 84 West – I asked ALDOT to consider widening Highway 84 West. They responded that they are beginning to look at improvements along that stretch of highway. While they would not commit to widening the roadway anytime soon, they did say that they were desirous of a plan for access control (think 231N but without the widening). I mentioned that this would be received poorly by the local citizens but they replied that there was no doubt that access control speeds up traffic. Incidentally, a local police officer told me a few days ago that the 231N changes have resulted in a reduction in the number of accidents. In any event, I anticipate it will be a number of years before any changes begin to take shape along this corridor.
Please pass along any questions or comments you have and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve you.