Meetings will give progress report on I-85

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 13, 2006

The public will have two more chances to ask questions and offer suggestions on the Interstate 85 extension next week when Volkert and Associates Inc. and other representatives host their second round of open meetings in York and Uniontown.

The meetings, which are scheduled for March 13 at the Hightower Community Center in York and on March 14 at the Uniontown Municipal Complex, will last from 5 to 7 p.m.

Paul Griggs, Assistant Vice President of Volkert and Associates, said the meetings will be somewhat similar to the Demopolis session, which drew 112 people and saw 20 comment forms submitted.

Email newsletter signup

“We plan to do an informal presentation and listen to public input from local citizens,” Griggs said.

During the meeting at the Demopolis Civic Center, Griggs said, they received a lot of interesting questions and suggestions. At these meetings, they expect the same.

“After our first meeting, we got a lot of helpful input,” Griggs said. “We hope for more of the same at this meeting.”

Representatives from the Alabama Department of Transportation will also be on hand. Tony Harris, Special Assistant to the Director, said the meetings were a chance to offer people a chance to consult with representatives in a relaxed environment.

“This is not part of our public hearing format,” Harris said. “This is more of a way for us to acquire information from the public in an informal way.”

Harris said there were three goals with gathering input for the meeting.

“First, we want to foster a regional approach,” Harris said. “Our second goal is to expedite coordination among the shareholders. Third, we want to provide an opportunity to share information with the shareholders on this.”

To help people gather information before the meeting, Volkert and Associates established a website,, with drawings and information to help people come up with questions before meetings kick off Monday.

The meetings will follow an “open house” format to allow the public to meet one-on-one with representatives of Volkert, the Alabama Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Association.

The proposed project will extend Interstate 85 west from Interstate 65 in Montgomery to Interstate 59-20 in Cuba. It will be a multi-lane controlled access facility on the new location. The roadway will consist of four 12-foot lanes, 10 foot paved outside shoulders, six foot paved inside shoulders and a 90-foot depressed, grassed median.

The study includes parts of six Black Belt counties including Dallas, Hale, Lowndes, Marengo, Perry and Sumter. Autauga and Montgomery Counties are also included.

Two more meetings are scheduled for August and February of 2007.