Mayors from west Alabama have banded together to support construction on the West Alabama Highway that will eventually be widened to four lanes.
The group met Tuesday in Thomasville and agreed the changes to the highway are necessary for economic development, jobs, safer commutes, and better access to medical care.
Thomasville Mayor Sheldon Day said the project, will “lift up” the state and west Alabama like never before.
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson called the expanded highway another route to the region’s economic engine.
“You can just visualize the increased commerce that we will have, and already we have traffic congestion on (Interstate) 65,” he said. “And, yes, there needs to be things done to improve 65. But maybe the quickest and the least expensive thing to do is to fix (U.S.) 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.”
Mayor Walt Maddox of Tuscaloosa said the expansion would be good for the entire state, not just west Alabama.
“It’s one of those win-win-wins,” he said. “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.”
The highway will be adding lanes to U.S. 43 and Alabama 69 to complete a four-lane corridor of roughly 80 miles.
The groundbreaking for the project was Nov. 12, 2021 attended by Gov. Kay Ivey and area officials. The total estimated cost of the project is $760 million.
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.