ALDOT to discuss widening U.S. 31

Published 2:43 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Alabama Department of Transportation will hold a public input meeting on March 7 at the Pelham Civic Complex to discuss a proposed widening project on U.S. 31 from Alabaster to Hoover. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Alabama Department of Transportation officials will give local residents a chance on March 7 to learn more about a plan to widen U.S. 31 to six lanes from Alabaster to Hoover.

ALDOT will hold the meeting from 4-7 p.m. at the Pelham Civic Complex, and will discuss plans to add additional lanes on U.S. 31 from the Interstate 65 Colonial Promenade exit in Alabaster to Riverchase Parkway in Hoover.

A previous project called for five lanes on the stretch of road, but ALDOT Third Division Engineer Brian Davis said Shelby County’s population growth has expanded the project to three southbound lanes and three northbound lanes.

Davis said part of the widening project will involve determining which median access points to leave open. The stretch of U.S. 31 from Alabaster to Hoover currently contains too many median access points to safely handle the amount of traffic six lanes would bring, Davis said.

“We’ll look at reducing some of those access points. We want to have the right amount, not too many and not too few,” Davis said. “It’s going to be a point of contention, because some businesses won’t have a median access point right in front of their business anymore.”

Davis said the project’s timeline is dependent on environmental issues, federal funding and other factors, and said it is “still too early to say” when the project will start.

The March 7 meeting will begin with an open house session at 4 p.m., during which ALDOT engineers will present project plans and maps.

After the open house session, ALDOT will hold a public forum session from 5-6 p.m. During the public forum session, ALDOT officials will present a brief presentation on the project, and will hear comments from those in attendance.

Those who wish to provide comments on the project must register at the sign-in table or submit a written comment form during the event.

Comments can also be mailed to the ALDOT Third Division office at P.O. Box 2745, Birmingham, Ala., 35202-2745. Mail comments must be received by March 30.