Opelika Road project one step close to construction

Opelika Road project one step close to construction

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - The City of Auburn has come one step closer in its plan to renew Opelika Road.

Thursday, the Planning Commission held a public hearing and voted to recommend the adoption of the plan.

"A construction date hasn't been set yet. We are currently in design, but we know it's important to make a visual impact immediately so that folks know the City is serious," explains Forrest Cotten, City of Auburn Planning Director.

The plan gained the support of a broad stakeholder group who backed recommendations which included regulatory changes, streetscape and redevelopment opportunities.

Streetscape improvements are going to be a big component of the plan and the City Council's commitment of $5 million in five years will be spent on the dressing up of the medians and right of ways in particular.

"The first phase of construction which will be streetscape improvements and we're going to focus on primarily the segments of the corridor between Gay and Ross Street which is close to downtown and then we'll begin to work our way east," says Cotton.

When you drive down the corridor you can already see business owners beginning to make improvements to their facades working together with the City's Economic Development team.

However, when you tackle a project of this size that could take anywhere from ten to 20 years and could cost up to $20 million, continued public input is essential.

"We want to still give people the opportunity to provide input , so on August 6th we'll provide a presentation to the City Council of the plan components and then finally we will ask the City council to adopt the plan at their meeting on August 20th," explains Cotton.

A couple of business owners along Opelika Road expressed concern at tonight's meeting regarding the disruption of their businesses while the road is under construction.

The committee wanted to reiterate that the plan is not finalized and they are willing to sit down with business owners and address their concerns at anytime.

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