Residents around Hwy. 261 widening project see new plans at community meeting

Local News
October 02 2021 06:00 pm

SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) – An expansion project for Alabama 261 in Hoover could be another step closer to becoming reality.

On Wednesday, developers held a community meeting to answer people’s questions and hear their concerns about the project.

The state calls it one of the busiest two-lane roads that never got expanded with more population growth. There was a plan back in the early 2000s to expand it – but that ended up being too expensive. Now, developers say they have created a plan to take less of people’s land and expand this road to five lanes.

Residents who live along Alabama 261 are frustrated with the never-ending traffic.

“There has to be relief at some point,” resident Stephen Cook said.

Developers said it’s time to expand the two mile stretch of road between U.S. 31 and Bearden Road.

“We’ve redesigned, we’ve shrunk the right-of-way footprint so now it’s a job we can afford,” Assistant Region Engineer Steve Haynes said. “That’s the reason we’re pushing forward this time.”

Nearly 20 years after first talks of expansion, it just might happen.

“This has been the closest we’ve gotten to an actual change,” Cook said.

Cook said he will lose his home of 15 years. He has held off renovations and upgrades that long anticipating it coming down sooner.

“Every time we speak to ALDOT they say six months maybe, next year maybe,” Cook said.

But like many others – he agrees making this two-lane road five will help.

“It’s a really close neighborhood,” Cook said. “If anything, it’ll give the entire neighborhood a little bit more of a bonus yard for everyone to use at that end of the cul-de-sac.”

The plan includes a center turn lane and two lanes on either side of it.

“Having a turn lane where you can wait and see crossing when it’s free one direction and then waiting until the other is clear and you can go, so it’ll be so much nicer having that extra turn lane in the middle,” said Cheryl Murdoch who lives off of Alabama 261.

Cook said he will move down the street once his house is gone.

“I’m not too upset about having to move, it’s for the greater good,” he said.

There’s still a lot of work to go and construction would not start until the earliest spring of 2023. Project developers estimate this plan could cost between $25 and $35 million dollars funded with federal, local and state money.

If you missed Thursday’s meeting you can learn more about the project here.

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