Better lighting tops traffic requests

Published 1:06 am Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A handful of participants were on hand Monday to “shed some light” on transportation issues facing Covington County.

The group attended a public hearing sponsored by the Southeast Alabama Rural Planning Organization, where citizens were allowed to give input on safety complaints and suggestions on local transportation needs.

Dan and Marlene McLaren of Andalusia live just off Debro Hill. The couple said they had two main concerns about the county’s roadways.

“First, I think the entrance into Anda-lusia needs to be upgraded with some lighting,” Dan said. “It would be nice if it could be like the southern entrance. It’s got the old county sign out, the one that’s got the Masons and such, and out there at Andalusia Marine.

“I think it should be out at the city limits,” he said. “It would help to have lighting on it to show the people coming in from (Interstate 65) how much we love our city.

“You know the first impression is the last one,” he said. “We should make it count.”

His wife Marlene said the area known as ‘Debro Hill’ also needs lighting.

“Especially considering the new apartment complex set to be constructed this year,” she said. “They’ll probably need a stop light there.

“Something needs to be done about lighting the whole place up before the traffic gets heavy there,” she said.

A July groundbreaking is set for a 104-apartment complex, which is proposed to have one, two and three bedroom units, with rents for each set at $670, $750 and $840 per month. Amenities will include a clubhouse with pool, business center, workout room, and laundry and carwash areas.

Also attending the meeting were Opp City Planner Don Childre and Florala Mayor Robert Williamson.

Childre said Opp, too, has a need for additional lighting along two of its major roadways.

“We’ve got two intersections where lights are badly needed,” Childre said. “One is on (U.S. Hwy.) 84 and the other is on (U.S. Hwy. 331). At night, it’s pitch black, no light. And we’re working right now to try and get help installing new lights.”

Andrew Windham, the SEARPO representative who conducted the meeting, said issues discussed at the meeting will now be taken to the second part of a three part committee process.

“From here, this information will be taken to a technical committee, which is comprised of county engineers and transportation experts,” Windham said. “Then, the results of that meeting will be forwarded to the policy committee made up of mayors and local officials.”

Windham also discussed the county’s five-year transportation improvement plan, which calls for the painting of several bridges, the installation of sidewalks in Florala, bridge replacement on U.S. Hwy. 84 over Yellow River, the widening and resurfacing of U.S. Hwy. 84 from the Conecuh County line to ½-mile west of River Falls and a bridge replacement on Ala. Hwy. 55.

The complete improvement plan can be found on the state website at