State Sen. Chesteen touts rural Wiregrass highway connectivity to Dothan, credits the Rebuild Alabama Act
A problem that has plagued Alabama’s Wiregrass for decades is the lack of highway connectivity from the rural areas of the region to its hubs of Dothan, Enterprise, Ozark and Troy.
The area is not directly served by an Interstate highway, although Interstates 10 and 65 are nearby. The Wiregrass has primarily relied on U.S. Highways 84, 231 and 431, which have improved over the past few decades. Given that none of those routes enter into Geneva County, it has been left out of the mix given a lack of four-lane highway connectivity.
However, State Sen. Donnie Chesteen (R-Geneva) said in addition to possible improvements to the north-south route Alabama Highway 167 in the future, improvements to a portion of the east-west thoroughfare Alabama Highway 52 will better that situation, which he touted during an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show” on Tuesday.
“Something I think that is going to happen before this will happen is Highway 52 from Highway 167 in Hartford and to the Houston County line, approximately 11 miles — and again, that would provide four-lane access from a rural county into the Dothan area, which is the hub of economic activity in the Wiregrass,” he advised.
Chesteen explained the importance of improving connectivity to the city of Dothan for the entire region.
“That’s where they spend their money,” Chesteen said. “That’s where they go to work by automobile — shop, eat. Again, that’s in the best interest of Dothan to be able to provide easier access into the city of Dothan from the outlying areas. And, I’m excited. I feel like we’re making progress on the [Highway] 52 part of the road project. The governor is working with us, and I appreciate her help because, as you said earlier, it was her goal to have rural counties with their infrastructure issues providing four-lane access. That would really be a big step. It is a partnership, too. That’s what’s been really encouraging about this. We tend to, in the last few years in the Wiregrass here, have gotten out of our silos and realize — again, as I said again, Dothan is a hub for economic and medical and all kinds of activities.”
“But if it is good for Dale County or Geneva County, it is ultimately going to be good for Dothan. Matt Parker, the Dothan Area Chamber — they’ve been really helpful in helping us with the data we need for this project, [Dothan Mayor Mark] Saliba, as well,” he added. “And also we have an opportunity for a new business in the Geneva County Industrial Park, you know, that I’m hoping we can have an announcement on in the next couple of months that would bring jobs into Geneva County.”
Overall, he said the improvements were a credit to the Rebuild Alabama Act, passed in 2019 by the legislature.
“We’re having more rural county roads paved in my district than we’ve had in years,” he said. “It’s good for the taxpayers to see their money working for them. I think that was a fear early on is that we’re going to pass legislation for a gasoline tax, and my constituents were not going to have to get a benefit from it. Well, they’re seeing it first-hand now. That’s good.”
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.