Mixed Reaction to New Eufaula Bypass

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The Alabama Department of Transportation is moving forward with a plan to build an alternate route around Eufaula, to alleviate congestion on Highway 431. But while some residents are welcoming the plan, others are very much against it.

Lake Eufaula has been a major scenic attraction in southeast Alabama for many years. But in order to visit the lake and its beautiful surrounding, people have to deal with quite a bit of traffic.

"Traffic on this road has continued to build and accumulate, a lot of it is beach traffic going south, especially from the Atlanta area," said Mike Griffin of the Alabama Department of Transportation.

The main problem with the road is that it starts off as a four lane road, but down toward the downtown area it turns into a two lane road making it difficult to get in, out or even through the city.

Some residents agree that new five mile bypass will help fix that problem and help keep congestion out of the historic district.

"That stretch of road is a problem for hurricane evacuations and other major emergency needs," said Doug Purcell, resident of Eufaula

David Ongemach said, "They can come to Eufaula if they wish on the 431 business route or go on their way."

But some residents are against the plan. Many of them live in the western part of Eufaula, where the bypass will run through. They're concerned about noise and traffic disturbing their businesses and the peace in their neighborhoods.

"I don't want the bypass, I don't think Eufaula needs a bypass, and I definitely don't want it in my backyard," said Kaye Gibbs.

John Bush: "It will probably close several businesses on south 431."

Transportation officials say they have done everything in their power to minimize the effect that the bypass will have on the residents who will live near by and they maintain that this particular route is the best choice.

Officials have not said how much this project will cost, or when construction will begin.

But whatever the cost ends up being, the bypass will be pay for by state and federal funds. The city of Eufaula will not incur any expenses related to the project.