Roadscapes Stuff

Roadscapes Wednesday: An Update On Save North Eufaula Avenue


Roadscapes Geek Alabama

On this edition of Roadscapes Wednesday, on a Thursday, I am going to provide an update on Save North Eufaula Avenue.  I first talked about this group in a past Roadscapes post, and it quickly went viral.  Now, other bloggers, newspapers, and TV stations have voiced support for this stretch of road featured in the movie “Sweet Home Alabama.”  Many have supported to keep this stretch as it is, except for ALDOT.  Which is kind of corrupt.  And does not have the support of Geek Alabama or Nathan Young.

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Now, ALDOT has bid on the project to widen US 431 through the historic stretch.  The plan is to take three feet away from the median on both sides, and trim some of the historic oak trees so four lanes can be provided.  ALDOT claims that around 21,000 cars travels through this stretch every day, and it would reduce the miles long backup that happens during the Spring and Summer.  But somehow I don’t buy that!  And now, officials from the city of Eufaula, Eufaula Heritage Association, Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation have filed a federal lawsuit.  And the two sides will meet in Opelika next week for mediation.

Plus, the Southern Environmental Law Center will help in the fight!  Only one bidder came forward to widen the 0.8 mile stretch, Midsouth Paving out of Birmingham.  The reason only one bidder came forward is because this project would come with a heaping dose of lawsuits and controversy, and that is exactly what is happening here!  For starters, more and more people are wanting to keep the historic stretch the way it is!  Folks from Pat Dye, to Katie Couric, are wanting ALDOT ALDONT to keep the historic stretch intact in Eufaula.  You can read the letter from Katie Couric by clicking here!

Second, the widening would kill most trees and vegetation in the median while the work is happening and after the work has happened.  And three, have alternatives been looked at?  Like accepting federal funds to build a 4-lane bypass going around Eufaula?  Or synchronizing the traffic lights on US 431, and removing lights that are not needed?  Or realizing that keeping streets small and single lane actually improves the city and overall traffic flow?  Nope, this is ALDOT, who only cares about making huge highways, at big costs to the taxpayers.  For example, ALDOT maintains a two-mile stretch of 4-lane in Marshall County, that dead-ends in the middle of nowhere, that’s ALDOT efficiently for you!

Yep, ALDOT does not care about the historic district, or the department’s concern for the city’s heritage, image, historical value, beauty, and tourism trade.  Let’s lay more asphalt down, that’s what ALDOT only wants to do!  Leaders in the community have tried to talk to ALDOT about not widening the avenue, but nothing has happened, and it has fallen on deaf ears to the bureaucrats in Montgomery.  ALDOT actually proposed a Guntersville to the Eufaula officials, where one street goes north, and the other street goes south.  If you have been to Guntersville, the streets are not friendly, and are filled with speeding cars.  I don’t think Eufaula wanted that!

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ALDOT, sometimes a neighborhood has much more value than a 4-lane highway, this is the case in Eufaula.  Turning US 431 into two speedy one lane streets or widening Eufaula Avenue into a four lane highway would divide the neighborhood, and the city as well.  Sometimes you need to take into consideration people who might want to walk and not drive.  Or people who values the scenery more than the speed.  Or the people who wants to see the southern charm instead of rushing right on by.  I don’t think it’s going to kill you to keep US 431 and this short 0.8 mile stretch of road as a one-lane tree-lined avenue.  Sometimes, beauty has more value than a highway.

ALDOT State Transportation Director John Cooper needs a wake up call, along with the rest of the Alabama government, who has an over $200 million general fund deficit, and is one of the most corrupt states in America.  Alabama has a tremendous amount of beauty along its road and highways, and ALDOT only cares about taking the beauty down.  From chopping trees down, allowing companies to erect billboards, not signing destinations to small attractions, like every other state does, and giving the driver a more pleasant driving experience like better pavement, signs, reflectors, and more.  I mean, look at this beauty, would you want this destroyed?

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Sadly, I believe ALDOT is going to get the final say, because they always get their way, no matter how many lawsuits comes their way.  ALDOT’s unofficial motto is “It’s my way or the highway”, and I wish it was something totally different!  I wonder if you might see some people in Eufaula chain themselves to the trees to stop the work from happening?

Learn more about Save North Eufaula Avenue at:  http://www.savenortheufaulaave.com

Join their Facebook Group page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/815516851809917/

Sign the petition to Governor Robert Bentley saving North Eufaula Avenue at: https://www.change.org/p/john-cooper-aldot-aldot-please-help-save-our-historic-district-and-oppose-the-four-lane-planned-for-eufaula-avenue

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