Marshall Co. economic development officials say U.S. Hwy 431 traffic is impeding growth, propose traffic study

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. - City councils from three Marshall County cities joined other State and local officials to discuss a proposed traffic study for U.S. Highway 431, spearheaded by the Marshall County Economic Development Council.

U.S. Highway 431 is always busy in Marshall County. That's a good thing, but what isn't is the more often than not resulting traffic issues, which can have a negative impact on growth.

"The companies have to have the ability to effectively and efficiently get their products to market, and that all comes down our artery in Marshall County, and that artery is Highway 431," explained Marshall County Economic Development Council President, Matt Arnold.

Prospective businesses take note of any issues. "If they see traffic being a problem, then they're going to say 'well, that's probably not a community we want to locate in'," said Arnold.  "We're hearing it from other manufacturers, existing manufacturers, that it is becoming a problem and we want to get a handle on that before that problem becomes unmanageable."

The city councils of Albertville, Boaz and Guntersville participated in a joint work session along with members of the Marshall County Commission and Legislative Delegation Monday afternoon. The goal was  to discuss a proposed traffic study for 431 spearheaded by the Marshall County Economic Development Council.

The Council has been working with ALDOT and Sain Associates to be proactive in taking steps to reduce congestion. The meeting was the first step.

"ALDOT has proposed a comprehensive traffic study, an access management study, that would look at every intersection every red light,  all the major points that seem to have problems," Arnold said.

That would lead to potential solutions. "This is going to cost the cities some money," Arnold said, "They have to have some skin in the game and so they need to be able to have the knowledge of what we're actually trying to accomplish with this study."

The study would run from Guntersville's River Bridge through Albertville, to the county line in Boaz.  In the next step, those city councils will decide if they want to move forward.

The proposed study would take about six to nine months to do. If it is approved it would most likely start next year.