$805K access road coming to Opp

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The City of Opp on Monday took an $805,000 step toward securing a business gateway to the city.

Construction is now set to begin on a new industrial access road at the intersection on U.S. Hwy. 331 and U.S. Hwy. 84.

City, state and county officials gathered for the ground-breaking ceremony Monday morning at the site.

“Today, we break ground on our bypass’s access road that will allow us to significantly improve our chances in recruiting new businesses and industry to our city,” Mayor John Bartholomew said. “The path today has been a long one. We have worked very hard to get to this point. We believe that this access road will be the lynchpin that our city has been needing in developing our bypass into a full business district.”

Bartholomew said city officials believe that the new access road will give more options to travelers that will soon create more tax revenue for the city.

In 2012, the city, along with the Covington County Economic Development Commission, announced plans for a $2.5 million travel center at the intersection, which was expected to bring 30 new jobs and an estimated $50,000 to $80,000 in sales tax revenue to the city, but the deal fell through.

“Today we take the next step in meeting that goal,” Bartholomew said. “We could not have accomplished this without the assistance of many people and groups along the way. This project has come to being when, with the help of Sen. (Jimmy) Holley and Rep. (Mike) Jones, we were able to meet with our friends at the Department of Transportation to secure the ability to install our access to U.S. 84.”

Funding for the access road is coming from the City of Opp Utilities board, Bartholomew said.

“This project would not have been feasible without the support of the members of the utility board of Opp,” he said. “Mr. (Joe) Richburg, Mr. (Charles) Willis and Mr. (Skip) Spurlin along with the continued assistance of Mr. (Stacey) Parker, have provided the support to ensure that Opp provides yet another opportunity for economic growth and development.”

Bartholomew said work on the road will begin immediately with Moody Construction handling the project.

“We hope to have the road complete in a very short time,” he said.

The new road will run about one-half mile, and will run from the current palm trees at the intersection to the Best Western parking lot.