Wiregrass Newsroom: Timetable Set for Highway 167 Widening

Enterprise, AL (WSFA) -- Traffic is getting heavier at one intersection in Enterprise.   It's all because more and more people are using Highway 167 North.

"If you've ever traveled 167, it is congested, especially at certain times of day," says Enterprise mayor, Kenneth Boswell.

That's why the Mayor took it upon himself to get people on board for a widening project six years ago.  And now, it's finally taking shape.

"It would allow us to be able to move people.   167 is the evacuation route coming from Highway 79 out of the panhandle of Florida. Ya know, economics follows that.   It would be able to take and help attract industry into the Wiregrass," says Boswell.

And it's a feeling one Enterprise resident shares.

"I've been in this community, retired military, for about twenty years. It would improve not only our traffic flow, but also it would increase our revenue in the city of Enterprise. I am excited," says Larry Murphy.

Mayor Boswell says Congress allocated $3 million dollars for the project.   The widening starts at the intersection of Boll Weevil Circle and Highway 167 North.

The first leg is a $6 million dollar project expanding the highway from two lanes to four--from Boll Weevil Circle to Salem road. But the Alabama Department of Transportation says work on other legs, like Highway 167 South is still a long way off.

"There's currently no funding appropriated to begin any plan work or studies along that corridor. The need for the corridor is of course recognized.   The need has not generated heavy enough to start creating funding down there," says ALDOT South Division Engineer, Mike Griffin.

But both Murphy and the Mayor say, some progress is better than nothing.

"Just seeing the first leg in the process of being widened, it gives me a great deal of enthusiasm. I'm just glad to see it," says Boswell.

"Take it one step at a time and hope that the next years we'll get more," Murphy says.

Crews are planning to begin construction in July of 2010.

Reporter: Melissa McKinney