Florence road replacement hits state delay over trees

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - A multifaceted road and utilities project being funded by the Alabama DOT in Florence has hit a possible roadblock.

It’s a beautiful view of the fall foliage for those drivers who travel Wood Avenue each day. But as nice as the scenery is above, city leaders say the road below their tires is crumbling.

$4 million has been secured through state ATRIP funds to replace the roadway and relocate the utilities underneath. But state engineers have put the brakes on the project.

“There is some amount of concern on their part about any work to be done behind the curb. Of course, from curb to curb you can only do what you can do,” said Florence spokesperson Phil Stevenson.

Alabama Department of Transportation engineers are concerned about the oak trees and sidewalks which line Wood Avenue.

Stevenson said they are worried work from the project will disrupt the trees root system. Enough concern to where the project may have to be put on a shelf.

“For the extent of the whole project, it includes sanitary sewer the whole way, you’re talking about $2.5 million there. That would be a burden that would be very difficult on our water and sewer department right now,” stated Stevenson.

And city leaders say if funding is pulled, they will just have to continue piece-milling Wood Avenue until funds can be found to replace the entire road-bed.

If Florence does get the go ahead to do the project as planned by the state, it would be late spring of 2015 before it would start.

City officials hope to get a final decision in the coming weeks.

1 Comment

  • Michael J. Soroczak

    As per the sidewalk uplifts from the tree roots, how about building little over passes on the buckled sidewalks? Per the street, tread carefully there that the trees are not killed off by the solution. And the sewer drainage? Back in the ’70’s and ’80’s there was supposed to be a very small tax set aside to replace the system. In the ’80’s there was a big problem on North Wood Avenue along the block that is now owned by McDonalds. That section of property was owned by the Olive family and the Barksdale family. I know because I worked for Sammie. And some others owned the property up there as well. When the sewers backed up the city said the money collected by the tax was not there to fix said problems. Seems instead of being set aside it was placed in the general fund budget and the Cookie Monster got it.

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