FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) — Florence city officials say the need for the West College Street Extension project is crucial.
The officials are hoping the proposed project will bridge the gap between community resources west of Cypress Creek and West Florence with the rest of the city.
“I think it would bring economic development and open up west Florence. The community right now is, basically, not engaged…and we want it to become engaged,” Florence City Councilmember Kaytrina Simmons says.
A public information meeting was held Tuesday night to showcase plans for the project. Councilmember Simmons says this is a project she’s been advocating for since taking office in 2016.
“I’ve never let up on it, I continue to speak on it and advocate on it, and I’m not going to stop advocating on it until it comes to fruition,” Simmons added.
The City of Florence is proposing the construction of a new roadway, bridge, and pedestrian accommodation over Cypress Creek, connecting areas west of Cypress Creek with the West Florence neighborhood and the central business district of Downtown Florence.
The project proposes providing a new roadway and bridge to connect west Florence to State Route 20 west of Cypress Creek. Additional right-of-way is required to construct the project.
Currently, there are three alternatives being considered for this project and some residents at Tuesday’s meeting say they like what they see so far.
“Living in Florence my whole life, it takes you straight to Savannah Highway…which will circle you back around to Cox Creek. That gives you an exit from the west side to get into the city. Moving forward as we talked to the architect, it has the walking and riding lanes – it had room for expansion and growth. So, as the City of Florence grows…that can grow as well,” Florence Residents Lorenza & Linda Collier says.
Florence Mayor Andy Betterton says there’s local and federal support for the project. Betterton tells News 19 that a timeline for when construction will begin and how much it’s going to cost is not known at this time.
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“Initially, we thought $18-20 million, but when you engineer it to federal standards…there’s a lot more work to do. It could be three to five years to get there. What we’re trying to do now is get it to a point where it’s almost ‘shovel ready’ so we can move forward with the project,” stated Betterton.
If you’re interested in providing feedback on the proposal, that input must be submitted by November 29th.
Input can be submitted by emailing West.College.Street.Extension@volkert.com, calling the following phone number: (256) 203-8033 or via mail.
For more information regarding submitting feedback, click here.