City, ALDOT will not delay simultaneous road projects

Published 6:17pm Wednesday, July 10, 2013

As the bridge on Dallas Avenue closes off next week for replacement, politicians have since rescinded their request for Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program and Alabama Department of Transportation projects being done in the area to be staggered and delayed to ease heavy traffic flow.

Selma Mayor George Evans said in a council meeting Tuesday, the city should request ATRIP and ALDOT projects to be delayed, which include the replacement of the bridge on Dallas Avenue over Valley Creek, the repaving of Cahaba Road and Medical Center Parkway

“Yes, Selma could delay doing this,” Evans said. “But the money is not going to be there if we don’t do this now. So if you want my opinion — we take it.”

He said in several conversations with ALDOT he asked if the Cahaba Road repaving project could be delayed because it is part of the detour route around the closed bridge. He also asked if the repaving could go on at night and ALDOT guaranteed him they would only close one lane and be done with the repaving within 15 to 20 days.

Though several business owners have raised concerns about the possible negative effect the bridge closure and other projects could have on the local economy, Evans said the projects are, “Something that has to be done.”

“I just don’t see how doing this is going to be that detrimental to the (City) Marina because people are going to come there … they are going to come,” Evans said. “I’m not like some people … I know we want progress, but Cahaba (Road) is one of the worst streets in Selma … it is really bad.”

Ward 2 Councilwoman Susan Keith and Ward 1 Councilman Cecil Williamson followed behind Evans’ stance on going forward with the projects as planned by the state and both said the projects were good for the city.

“We have to go ahead and do (these projects) and we cannot risk losing the money and the funding,” Keith said about the Cahaba Road and Medical Center Parkway repaving, scheduled for her ward. She said many of her constituents would be affected by the detour and repaving but said Medical Center Parkway was in need of potholes being fixed and the road being striped because “emergency vehicles are using that road.”

Keith took to her Facebook Wednesday to urge the community to be patient during the projects, because she said it takes all residents to make Selma be it’s best.

“While it may seem the obvious thing is to delay one of the projects, if the city requests a delay on one of the resurfacing projects we requested, ALDOT will perform the work elsewhere and we will lose our opportunity,” Keith posted. “It is a short-term sacrifice to improve our infrastructure.”

Williamson said in the council meeting the multiple projects in Selma are a sign of progress and should continue as planned without delay.

“I think we should stop talking about this and putting this off — it needs to be done,” Williamson said. “The state has made the bids. If we don’t go forward with this, the state, and probably us, will probably be liable for the contract to some extent.”

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