State Sen. Tom Whatley applauds $10.8 million from USDOT to replace 6 bridges along I-85 near Opelika
Last week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced the State of Alabama will receive $10.8 million in funding to replace three sets of twin bridges at Exit 60 off Interstate 85 near Opelika.
The intersection, which serves I-85 and Alabama Highways 51 and 169, has been a problem area for travelers for decades. It was mentioned by State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) earlier this month in an appearance on Huntsville’s WVNN as a public safety concern.
Whatley also questioned why it wasn’t given priority over a rest area restroom renovation several miles north near the Alabama-Georgia state line in Chambers County.
Thursday on WVNN, Whatley applauded the U.S. Department of Transportation announcement and offered details on how the improvements will alleviate congestion and safety concerns.
“There’s a lot that needs to be done along I-85 in Lee County and in Chambers County but that’s the number one spot to start with,” he said. “If you can replace that bridge there that we now have the money to do at Exit 60 and the bridges that are across from the railroad tracks down from it, then that’s hopefully going to be able to make those into six lanes, three and three – and hopefully take that accel, decel lane all the way down to Tiger Town at Exit 58, which is a mile-and-a-half. That would go a long way to alleviating a tremendous amount of congestion and safety concerns.”
“I have done videos there at Exit 60 before showing where truckers have to come to a stop to get on the interstate,” Whatley added. “Then once they come to a stop going up a hill, they can’t get going all that fast and it’s really a safety issue for traffic 70 and 80 miles-an-hour behind them and then they have to slow down to get on. There have been wrecks there and this would go a long way to making that a safer interstate and a more well-travelled interstate, and alleviate congestion.”