The Alabama Department of Transportation is planning to create a bypass around Eufaula’s busiest street, Highway 431.
Mayor Jay Jaxon says he likes to refer to the project as an alternate route. He says that's because the new road should be a positive change for the city.
Driven through downtown Eufaula, you know congestion can be a problem. Right now the highway goes from a four lane to a two lane in the center of town.
The Alabama Department of Transportation wants to bypass Highway 431 in the downtown area. That could relieve some of the traffic pressure without having to widen any roads.
One route they are looking at would be about two miles away from the downtown area.
“Support has grown for the route, just for internal convince for one thing, safety another. Then, to try to get some of the trucks off the route downtown, that's imperative,” said Mayor Jaxon.
Even though the bypass will be away from downtown, the route is set to travel through city limits. Some business owners say with it being located outside most of Eufaula's businesses, it will have a negative impact. However, others say it will help the city grow.
Mayor Jaxon said, “It's going to open up the property for greater development, but the main thing it's going to do is it's going to create an internal transportation artery for the community that's located along the lakeshore that's oriented north and south.”
The bulk of the project cost is being paid for with federal money. The state is picking up the remaining 20 percent. City leaders say it's not going to cost Eufaula anything.
Once the bypass is approved, it will be put in the department's five-year plan. What's not known right now is when the project will start, when it will be done, or the exact cost.
What we do know is any new bypass near Eufaula will take years to complete and is expected to cost at least $60 million.
Anyone will have an opportunity to speak with the DOT concerning the downtown bypass Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Eufaula Community Center.