PELL CITY — Alabama State Department of Transportation officials met informally with the public Thursday night to answer questions and accept comments about a proposed road project.
ALDOT plans to widen U.S. 231 to five lanes from the 19th Street/Alabama 34 intersection to Cropwell Drive.
“This is a very, very preliminary plan,” said Johnny Harris, ALDOT division engineer, first division.
He said a project like this takes about five years or longer to complete the entire process.
Harris said ALDOT is currently completing an environmental study before the project can move forward.
The proposed project includes the addition of two travel lanes and a center turn lane for a five-lane section from the end of the current five-lane section at Alabama 34/19th Street to Cropwell Drive.
Harris said the purpose of the project is to help relieve congestion at the Alabama 34 intersection, extending the five-lane one-half mile south along U.S. 231.
He said the project depends on the availability of federal funds.
ALDOT officials said Thursday’s informal public “open house” allowed state highway officials to meet and talk to the public one-to-one.
ALDOT had big, long maps spread out on tables for the public to see, and state officials also accepted written comments from the public about the proposed road project.
Harris said the project would extend south, about 700 feet from Cropwell Drive, where the five-lane road would taper off to two lanes.
Eventually, state officials said, there are tentative plans to have a five-lane highway all the way south to Dam Road.
Harris said currently there are no plans for any road construction projects on Alabama 34 near the Pell City Civic Center.
Gary Smith, district manager first division, District 6, said normally a traffic study is completed before any consideration is made to the installation of traffic lights or road construction projects.
State officials said the city can request that ALDOT complete a traffic study for Alabama 34.