ALDOT Revises Design of Rt. 261

Wed March 15, 2006 - Southeast Edition

PELHAM, AL (AP) State transportation officials have revised the design for a proposed widening of Alabama 261 to five lanes in Pelham and Helena to affect fewer homes and businesses in an area of rapid growth.

The public will get its first look at the new design at a March 21 pubic hearing. Maps of the proposed route will be on display.

The project has been “revamped from one end to the other,” said Brian Davis, division engineer for the Alabama Department of Transportation. “We want to do the best job possible by taking advantage of every square foot but make the least impact on everyone.”

Officials and residents of the two cities for years have clamored for improvements to the busy road, where morning rush-hour traffic backs up for miles.

The DOT received Federal Highway Administration approval in 2004 to complete the design for the first phase, a 2.6-mile widening project from U.S. 31 to Shelby County 105, and held its first public hearing in March 2005.

But Davis said the initial design did not meet the DOT’s goal of affecting the fewest properties possible. Under that design, the widening would have affected 40 to 50 houses and commercial buildings along the route.

The new design cuts that number approximately in half, Davis said.

The March 21 hearing will be held at the Riverchase Church of Christ in Hoover from noon to 2 p.m. and from 4 to 6 p.m.