Alabama Department of Transportation looking at next phase of widening 181

By GUY BUSBY
Government Editor
guy@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 7/13/22

FAIRHOPE — The second phase in widening Alabama 181 from U.S. 90 in Daphne to U.S. 98 near Fish River is almost complete. Now, state highway officials are looking to extend the project south to …

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Alabama Department of Transportation looking at next phase of widening 181

Posted

FAIRHOPE — The second phase in widening Alabama 181 from U.S. 90 in Daphne to U.S. 98 near Fish River is almost complete. Now, state highway officials are looking to extend the project south to Baldwin County 32.

Officials with the Alabama Department of Transportation are talking to residents to address concerns about how the third phase of the widening project could affect their property, said Vince Beebe, ALDOT engineer.

Beebe said the current work to widen Alabama 181 to four lanes between Baldwin County 64 and Alabama 104 should be finished by around the end of the year.

“I believe that we're looking at a construction end date towards the end of this calendar year or the beginning of next calendar year before we'll have that project fully open, both sides of the roadway north and southbound,” Beebe said.

He said the next phase of the project will be to widen the highway from Alabama 104 south to Baldwin County 32.

At a work session of the Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization on Thursday, June 30, residents of the Stone Creek subdivision asked MPO members to consider options for the project that would keep the highway as far from their property as possible, Beebe said.

“We're going to just minimize the impact as much as we can and see what we can,” Beebe said.

He said that before the department can plan to start construction, funding will have to be approved.

“Once we have that, we can study the design a little bit more to revise the impact as much as possible," Beebe said. "And obviously keep working with that.”

The final phase of the project will be to widen the highway south to U.S. 98 west of Fish River.

A 2021 report estimated the cost of completing the widening of the highway the 9.7 miles from Alabama 104 to U.S. 98 at $64.5 million.

Beebe said the entire project from U.S. 90 to U.S. 98 was approved under the Federal Environmental Policy Act in 2006.

“Any time we have federal dollars, the environment document has to follow the NEPA process; that’s an acronym for National Environmental Policy Act,” Beebe said. "That allowed us to move into more of the design and planning stage here. So, it's just one step of the process that we have to follow and make sure that we're, you know, hitting all those regulations."

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