TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Department of Transportation will begin a road construction project next week that is expected to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion along US-82 and McFarland Boulevard from Highway 69 to Rice Mine Road.

ALDOT spokesman John McWilliams says this will be the first major Rebuild Alabama Act project in Tuscaloosa County.

The 2.77-mile project will add a travel lane in each direction, provide better access management to businesses, and add a shared-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians.

“Basically, it’s a resurfacing and add new lanes on McFarland Boulevard from Highway 69 to Rice Mine Road, but it will be more just resurfacing,” said McWilliams. “We are adding new lanes and extending turn lanes and we are also installing a bicycle and pedestrian lane, so this is a lot of work going into the busy corridor in Tuscaloosa County.”

Rebecca Patterson, owner of Gourmade Kitchen, has concerns, but says the stretch of road needs improvements and that this project will be a good thing.

“It’s good and bad, but we are excited to see the final outcome of it,” said Patterson. “We know it will give our customers a better opportunity to get in here, but I think we will have to have some loyal customers for the next two years while the construction is going on,” she said. “Hopefully, it won’t cause too many issues, this will be good for us because it means more access.”

Construction is expected to begin Dec. 13 and will be finished by summer 2024. At least two lanes will be open in each direction on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The latest traffic counts show more than 50,000 trips are made per day on the heavily traveled highway.