OPELIKA, AL (WSFA) - City officials in Opelika are working on a federal grant request to improve the city's infrastructure.
The Opelika City Council has approved the submission of a grant application. If awarded, the federal grant will be applied to a project aimed at connecting Interstate 85 and Highway 280 to help improve traffic congestion and safety.
City officials say that the project has three phases and would cost about $22 million. Road construction would include the development of an industrial access road from West Fraser Mill on Industrial Boulevard and intersect at Highway 431 at Morris Avenue.
It is expected to clear up some of the traffic by Southern Union Community College and Opelika High School, push truck traffic from exit 62 to underutilized exit 64, and improve Morris Avenue for residential use.
City engineer Scott Parker says that there have been some mixed feelings about the prospective project from residents but studies show that working on these roads is the right way to go.
"There has been some concern with residents about the utilization of Morris Avenue and this road, specifically truck traffic, but all of our analysis that we've done up to this point have proven that there's not going to be a dramatic increase or a minor increase in the truck traffic along Morris Avenue," Parker said.
"Citizens of North Opelika, of National Village area, if they want to access the SportsPlex or if they want to access I-85, it would be a whole lot easier for them to go through this route than it would be to go through downtown or to get on 280 and go through Tiger Town," he added. "So we are looking for the benefit of the citizens and don't really see it being a tremendous negative impact with additional truck traffic."
If this grant is approved, Parker says that the city would try to have all of the work done in the next five years.
MAP SOURCE: City of Opelika