U.S. 80 back in spotlight

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 16, 2002

UNIONTOWN &045;&045; Mayor Phillip White stood behind nearly 100 citizens gathered at Harvest Select on Tuesday morning during the company’s announcement that it would add 60 jobs and invest $1.2 million in expansion.

The company sits on U.S. Highway 80. It also sits on one of the few portions of the highway from Montgomery to the Mississippi border that is not yet completely four-laned.

White pointed east toward U.S. 80.

White seemed confident about the progress of four-laning U.S. 80. Gov. Don Siegelman, also in Uniontown for the Harvest Select announcement, sounded even more confident. In fact, he poked a bit of fun at political leaders and the inability to four-lane the important artery of Alabama.

During his speech on Tuesday, Siegelman pulled out a familiar analogy &045;&045; one he uses every time he talks about U.S. 80 and the goal of eliminating the two-laned portions in Uniontown and west of Demopolis.

He tells the story of President John F. Kennedy, who in the early 1960s said he wanted the United States to put a man on the moon.

About the same time Kennedy announced his intentions of putting that man on the moon, leaders in Alabama first discussed four-laning U.S. 80.

At the announcement Tuesday morning, Siegelman assured the citizens of West Alabama that U.S. 80 will be completely four-laned in four years or less.

However, there are still questions about how and where some of the work will take place.

White said U.S. 80 will bypass Uniontown to the North. Mike Kanarick, press secretary for Siegelman, wouldn’t verify that.

Apparently, officials from the Alabama Department of Transportation are in the process of plotting specific locations for the bypass. In order to do that, they must take into account environmental and archaeological concerns.

A crew from the Demopolis division of ALDOT has been doing the site work in Uniontown. It is unclear when they will complete that project and move on to laying concrete for the bypass.