Wiregrass Tip: If you want an Interstate freeway before the automobile is obsolete, immediately start a full press

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One of the hot topics making its way in Alabama is the possibility of a new east-west interstate highway through central Alabama.

The proposal is what people call “Interstate 14,” which would run parallel to US Highway 80, crossing Alabama from the east at Phenix City and passing through Tuskegee, Montgomery, Selma, Demopolis and out of the ‘Alabama from the west on the way to Meridien, Miss.

There are already parts of it in place along US Highway 80, near Phenix City and Montgomery. But the idea is that it could complement Interstate 20 to the north by offering an alternate route that would avoid traffic jams in Atlanta and Birmingham and connect Columbus, Ga., To the Interstate freeway system beyond Junction I. -185 existing.

Earlier this month, Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba screamed scandal over the current proposal, which puts Dothan 100 miles north.

“We feel like we’ve been cut off for many decades, it hurt us, we’ve developed a great city but we need a highway this way before those in the middle of the state do. do, “Saliba said of the I-14 proposal. in an interview with Alabama Media Group.

It’s hard to see where an east-west highway would go across the Wiregrass. If such a route were proposed, it would likely follow US Highway 84. But in 2018, is there demand for a new route connecting Dothan, Enterprise, Elba, Opp, Andalucia, Evergreen, Monroeville and Grove Hill to beyond what is already in place?

Probably not.

This is why the route that the Wiregrass needs is a north-south route.

If anyone has ever taken a trip from Alabama to the Florida beaches between Apalachicola and Fort Walton Beach at any point along the way, perhaps by crossing one of the various radars at a light along the US freeways 231 or 331, you thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to be on an Interstate right now?”

The proposal that is gaining traction is an interstate spur connecting Dothan and / or Enterprise to Interstate 10 32 miles south of Florida. Interstate 10 is a major east-west thoroughfare that begins in Jacksonville, Florida, and ends in Los Angeles.

“One of the things they say is that it’s already been planned, the money has already been spent, and that has to be our strategy with the I-10 connector,” said City Councilor of ‘Enterprise Turner Townsend at The Enterprise Ledger’s. Leah Lancaster in an interview published Tuesday. A study has been carried out and a route has been drawn. I think we have to (stay with) the I-10 connector, because in practice I don’t see them putting an east / west freeway through Enterprise.

While you can get past the endless bureaucracy and patronage policy of the Alabama Department of Transportation and its 50-year backlog of highway projects, the next problem to overcome with such a proposal would be getting the cooperation of the Department of Transportation. Florida Transportation.

If you consider Florida’s transportation needs to include the metropolitan areas of Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Jacksonville, etc., the elected leaders in Southeast Alabama probably should have started working with officials in Florida yesterday. in the Panhandle if they wanted to see an I-10 connector in their lifetime.

Unfortunately for the big cities of the Wiregrass, they are victims of geography. For many of our statewide political leaders, places like Dothan, Enterprise, Ozark, Elba, Opp and Andalucia are so far from the Montgomery-Birmingham-Huntsville corridor that they might as well be in Florida.

Even with very favorable circumstances in Congress that made funding available, it took almost 40 years for Corridor X (now Interstate 22) that connects Memphis and Birmingham to be completed.

The bottom line is that the Mississippi part was completed decades before the Alabama part. If this is a model for what the folks at Wiregrass should expect from ALDOT, promote the project early and promote it often if you want such a route to be completed before the automobile is obsolete. .

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and editor-in-chief of Breitbart TV.



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