ARAB, Ala. - The Arab Knights will be playing in a new stadium later this year. In the meantime, city and school leaders are working to figure out how the thousands of fans will get there because the routes leading to the stadium aren't as cut and dry as the playbook.
Arab High School's new stadium is off of U.S. Highway 231 near Gilliam Springs Baptist Church. It's across town from the old one and the high school, and it's been under construction for months. Crews recently finished it. The Knights are expected have the first kickoff of the season there later this year.
City and school leaders are working together to figure out the best route those hundreds of blue-clad fans can take to get there. "There's really not a good path right now, that's the problem," Mayor Bob Joslin said, "There are several ways that we could possibly get there. One's off of Old Huntsville Highway, one's off of Gilliam Springs Road, but all of them have to eventually come off of Highway 231."
There isn't a cut and dry, easy route that stems off of U.S. Highway 231, a major thoroughfare that runs through Arab and leads to the stadium. So Joslin, the City Council, and the School Board met up to talk about options. "We want to safely have a good path for people to get on and off the property because the stadium seats 4,500, and that's a lot of cars in and out," Joslin said.
They've started a traffic study. "ALDOT has graciously helped us out with funding that study, and the balance of the study will be shared between the Arab City School system and the City of Arab."
In determining the plan for stadium traffic they also need to factor in how that traffic route will work with the new high school when it gets built adjacent to the stadium. Joslin says that new addition could become a reality in potentially 15 or so years. "We need to plan for our road system like the high school is already there," Joslin said.
The traffic study should help with all of this, and Joslin expects it back around the beginning of March. Then they'll look at the results and go from there.