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Leaders join together to support continuing construction of West Alabama highway

The need for a four-lane highway through West Alabama has been discussed for decades.

A map of the West Alabama Highway project.

More than a dozen elected officials throughout western Alabama – from Mobile to Fayette – came together in Thomasville on Tuesday to voice their strong support for continuing construction of the West Alabama Highway. 

The need for a four-lane highway through West Alabama has been discussed for decades as a way to bring economic opportunities to the region and add a new north-south route in the state. The groundbreaking for the project was held on November 12, 2021 and attended by Gov. Kay Ivey and area officials. The estimated cost of the project is $760 million. 

The West Alabama Highway will add lanes to U.S. 43 and on State Route 69 to complete a four-lane corridor of roughly 80 miles.

All at Tuesday’s event agreed the West Alabama Highway will open up the region to economic development, jobs, safer commutes and greater access to medical care and other necessities.

Thomasville Mayor Sheldon Day said, “If we prepare ourselves today and do the right thing by working hard to make sure this happens, we will lift up the state of Alabama, this part of Alabama, higher than it’s ever seen before. The goals achieved and the things that can be achieved will be exponential.”

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said the West Alabama Highway is important to Mobile, especially as the Port of Mobile is expanding. Completing construction of the West Alabama Highway offers a new option — other than congested Interstate 65 — for goods being transported north from the port. 

With the port expansion, “you can just visualize the increased commerce that we will have, and already we have traffic congestion on 65. And, yes, there needs to be things done to improve 65,” said Mayor Stimpson. “But it may the quickest and the least expensive thing to do is to fix 43 so that we have two routes coming out of Mobile for one of the biggest economic engines that we have for the entire state to be able to go north to connect to Tuscaloosa, I-22, on to Florence.”

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Fayette Mayor Rod Northam attended the event and discussed the benefits of the four-lane highway connecting Mobile to Tuscaloosa and then heading north toward his city and Florence. Another project that has already been announced – the West Central Alabama Highway – will connect Fayette to Interstate 22.

Mayor Northam noted that because there is no four-lane highway through the western part of the state, many residents in north Alabama opt to travel through Mississippi to reach Alabama’s beaches.  

“That’s tax dollars we’ve lost because they’re going to stop and get food, they’re going to stop and get gas and they’re going to come down another state and not come down a corridor that connects, hopefully one day, the Shoals to Mobile,” said Mayor Northam.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox called the West Alabama Highway “one of those win-win-wins. It’s good for Tuscaloosa, it’s good for the Black Belt and it’s good for the entire state of Alabama.”

“So much of our commerce comes up from this region of the state and what we want to do is export – especially on the automotive side – that back into Mobile. Not only automotive but coal as well, which is important to this region,” Mayor Maddox said.

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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