Broken Promise Highway 331

A Chamber of Commerce official in the Wiregrass says he's tired of broken promises coming from Montgomery and Washington, D.C.

There is renewed interest in the four-laning of U.S. Highway 331 from Montgomery to the Florida state line.

Highway 331 has become a major north-south route to Walton County’s emerald coastline. In addition, Florida is pushing to four-lane it as a major hurricane escape route.

U.S. Highway 331 stretches from the Florida coastline, and crosses the state line at Florida. With the skyrocketing population growth, Florida officials need a reliable north-south four-lane in the event of a major hurricane.

Florida councilperson Sue Mathis has operated a hair salon for years; she says four-lane will bring unprecedented growth to her hometown.

"On the weekends when everyone is heading to the beach, I think the four-lane and the bypass off 331 could be very good for Florida and the travelers," said Sue Mathis.

But downtown business owner Gerry Kimbril disagrees. She feels a four-lane would create a bypass around Florida. Kimbril says that's kill the town

"I know when 331 bypasses around Opp were built. Many mom and pop stores closed down. They just went out of business. They didn't have the travelers to keep their businesses open,” said Gerry Kimbril.

Longtime Opp area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director James Kelso says plans are in place to four-lane Highway 331 from Montgomery to Luverne. Why not 20 more miles to the Florida line?

Opp officials say progress is being made in four-leaning Highways 84 and 55 out of Andalusia. They don't understand why Highway 331 is being forgotten.