Highway 119 work causes problems

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Heavy traffic congestion currently being experienced by travelers along a two-mile stretch of Alabama Highway 119 in Alabaster is the result of a project Mayor David Frings said dates back to the 1970s and which should have been started 10 to 15 years ago.

The mayor is urging the public to be patient and use caution while the work is under way.

A little more than a two-mile stretch of Highway 119 is being widened to five lanes from south of U.S. Highway 31 to Fulton Springs Road. The project is being carried out by Hastings General Contracting of Hanceville.

In the end, according to Frings, &uot;It’s going to improve the flow of traffic.&uot;

Additional acreage along Highway 119 will see mostly retail development, he said.

Frings explained that much of the congestion is the result of the elimination of turn lanes while the project is being completed, which he said has confused drivers.

The mayor said there is &uot;a lot of potential for accidents&uot; and traffic will be &uot;slow&uot; for &uot;several months.&uot;

However, Frings said, turn lanes eliminated may be completed in the next week or so, according to state Department of Transportation.

He said drivers are going to have to leave for destinations earlier, plan routes and allow time for traffic.

Frings said the city will have police and personnel helping to direct traffic during certain times of the day.

And the mayor said he has spoken to the state Department of Transportation to increase street lighting in the area.

According to Frings there are three intersections in the construction area, and there is not a turn lane.

He called the situation &uot;a nightmare.&uot;

Frings explained that

Department of Transportation documentation of the Highway 119 project dates back to the 70s.

He said previous mayors have all called about it, and he said it has been needed for many years