UA Graduate Student researches possible I-14 going through Selma

Published 7:20 am Tuesday, March 28, 2023

By Travis Gupton

The Selma Times-Journal

Jack Spalding, a Geography Master Student at the University of Alabama, gave a presentation on the proposed Interstate 14 and its potential impacts of Selma and Dallas County at the Selma-Dallas County Public Library.

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Spalding was introduced by his professor Dr. Kevin Curtin who praised him before the presentation.

“One of the things that we do is we bring in Graduate students,” Curtin said. “A little over a year ago when we were getting applications for grad school, sometimes we get a range, sometimes we get college students fresh out of school who just got their bachelor’s degree and we get all sorts of things. I found this one application where the proposition was more thought out than some of the master’s thesis I see at the end of the programs. So I knew there was something special about a master’s student wanting to come work in geography.”

Spalding said that his objective of the thesis was to determine whether the proposed route of I-14 would serve Selma that was written in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in 2021 would be disruptive enough that alternate routes through and around the community should be considered.

According to Spalding the I-14 concept began in 2005 when the 14th Amendment Highway was proposed in Congress. Since that time a 25-mile section of the interstate has been completed in Texas.

The idea of the interstate would be that it would run from Texas to the coast and it would run through Dallas County. Spalding spoke about the three options of the proposed Interstate and said that he would study what each route had pros and cons.

The first route was the northern route which ran through Potter and Brantley staying north of Selma. The middle route would run from Potter down toward Sardis. The third route is the popular opinion route according to Spalding because it is the path of least resistance. It runs down from Marion Junction and curves near Kings Landing running through parts of Old Cahawba.

Spalding additionally showed the routes and how they could affect the population, economics, and other parts of life if the interstate runs a certain route.

In the southern route, Old Cahawba would be affected. The route would likely pass within a half mile of the Old Cahawba Archaeological Park.

It would also likely traverse part of the Old Cahawba Forever Wild Land parcel. Linda Derry, director of Old Cahawba Archeological Park, talked about the history of the park and talked about how it would be awful should an interstate disrupt the quiet and peaceful park.

In the closing remarks, Spalding said he would return to Selma to give updates on his research. He laid out steps on how he planned on going about finishing his thesis. He said that any information anyone could give him will aid his research would be greatly appreciated.