An old problem raises its head in Tuskegee

Mayor Johnny Ford/WSFA photo
Mayor Johnny Ford/WSFA photo
Low tide on the lake/WSFA photo
Low tide on the lake/WSFA photo

Lake Tuskegee Two, that's what Mayor Johnny Ford calls the part of his city that ends up looking like a lake every time it rains hard.

And true to its nature, the lake once again formed, producing problems for those who rely on Highway 80 in their travels through and to Tuskegee.

Sunday, Highway 80 West filled once again with water and by 5:47 p.m. the Department of Transportation and the mayor were encourage people to find another route. "Drivers strongly encouraged to take alternate routes. Water has overtopped the road," proclaimed the DOT road closure Web site.

Mayor Ford says its a serious problem and his people were constantly pumping to no avail. "Highway 80 literally acts like a dam," comments Ford.

The project to fix the problem originally cost $400,000 when it was started many years ago. The price tag now - $1.2 million according to the mayor. He says the engineering and design is a big part of the cost. "(It) must be sloped at the proper angle so the pipes under the highway will flow and take the water off the highway and make Highway 80 a state-of-the-art highway once again. It's a major problem...It has gotten worse over the years, but we are determined to correct the problem once and for all."

Johnny Ford isn't upset with Hurricane Dennis. He says,"Hurricanes are becoming a way of life for us here in this area and we must cope with it better so that we can protect our citizens."

He says the quick work by the governor before, during and after Hurricane Dennis will help cities like his cope long after the hurricane has passed. "Once the hurricane damage is done, our cities need to be able to apply for assistance," says Ford.

Ford says he's working with other members of the community to try to solve the city's recurring problems.

Tuskegee has had plenty of problems through the years coming up with enough money to adequately run the city and take care of problems that many cities in Alabama face, the truck drivers and others who rely on U.S. Highway 80 West are counting on a solution and hoping the mayor will, with the assistance of others, turn downtown Tuskegee once again into dry land when the rains come.