Florence must deal with roadblock before paving can begin on Wood Avenue

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - More than four years after the Florence City Council asked for state funds to rebuild and pave a major road, crews are set to begin. But first, the city must navigate around yet another obstacle.

It’s one of downtown Florence’s prettiest streets, but Wood Avenue is plagued with issues.

A drive down it is like a slalom course, dodging pot hole after pot hole. And that’s sort of how the city of Florence has felt in getting funding to repave it.

“There are issues that come up on any kind of project you hope to get into, what you do? You just deal with them. Sometimes it just takes a little bit more time,” explained city spokesman Phil Stevenson.

A one mile stretch of Wood Avenue is set to be repaved beginning in June. But before they can start, six very large oak trees must be cut down.

Wood Avenue is lined with 150 oak trees, many of them planted in the late 1800’s. The six which need to go are all compromised by disease or the root ball is bound up by the street and sidewalks.

“They are in a decline and it is a matter of public safety,” said Stevenson. “They are on the right of way, so unfortunately it’s not that we want to but that we must.”

The city hopes to have a contractor picked by mid-May, just in time to get the trees down and paving crews on the road.

The Wood Avenue road project is being paid for through the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation Improvement Program. The total cost of the project is more than $1 million.

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