BIRMINGHAM Ala. (WIAT) — Road work has officially begun on phase one of the Highway 119 widening project. The Alabama Department of Transportation is partnering with the city of Alabaster to complete the project.

City officials say the two-lane highway will expand to five lanes: two northbound, two southbound, and a middle turning lane.

Alabaster city administrator Brian Binzer says the widening project is eight years in the making. They say this project will take time, but the finished product will be worth it.

He says this widening project will likely have a positive impact on many within the community.

“New businesses, developers that are putting in new homes and those types of things, but most importantly, definitely our residents that travel that corridor every day- go to work and come home every day. It’s going to make their lives a whole lot easier,” said Binzer.

Royal Fades Barber Lounge employee Scottie Musick says the highway’s current status causes heavy congestion. He says local employees and clients have a tough time accessing businesses off the highway because of such heavy traffic.

Musick believes the widening project will improve access points to Alabaster’s local businesses.

“I think it’ll definitely allow the traffic to flow better,” said Musick. “I think it will encourage people to come shop here more because it will be easier to get in and out of the plaza.”

Binzer says phase one will carry the project to a breakpoint at Highway 12. Phase two will go from Highway 12 to Veterans Park.

He believes the widening of Highway 119 is only the beginning of further expansion throughout Alabaster.  

“I think you’re going to start seeing over the next 18 to 36 months a lot of really great projects happening, you know, from transportation to new parks and all those types of great things that will make our community safer and easier to travel through,” said Binzer.

Binzer says phase one will likely take 18 months to complete. The city is still working to get phase 2 funded by ALDOT.