Plans Unveiled For I-10 Connector

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Bill Edwards is not very happy with plans to extend I-10 over his farmland, in the Western part of Dothan.

He says the plan would have the highway built right over his house.
And like many other landowners, he could potentially lose his home, if plans to build the four-lane highway extension are approved.

Mike Griffin, the division engineer for the Alabama Department of Transportation says, "it would be a freeway… it would go up from about Midland City, down West of Dothan, and connect with 231 South at the state line."

While many area residents are concerned about the project, city and county officials say the bypass would make long distance travel safer for drivers, help boost business in Dothan and the surrounding cities.

Dothan’s City Manager Mike West, says, "Industries look for easy access to interstate highways. So I think a tie in between I-10 and a connector route out of Dothan would greatly enhance the economic development opportunities."

Then there is the other point of contention... the I-10 connector’s proximity to a proposed surface water reservoir that would provide extra water to four Wiregrass counties, with depleting aquifers.

The plans for both projects have since been changed so that now the proposed highway extension will only run across one edge of the proposed lake site, but some folks are still worried about the potential for environmental hazards.

Bryan McClendon, a concerned resident says, "as long as the freeway is passing through the watershed that supplies the reservoir, any accidental fuel spill can get into the drinking water supply."

Still state officials say there are safeguards in place to protect the areas drinking water including water treatment plants, and the constant monitoring of the water by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

But for right now, the plans are just preliminary and nothing has been set in stone.

If the plan is approved, the highway extension could cost close to a quarter of a billion dollars.