Thursday evening, September 20, ALDOT held a public information meeting in the Vance area to reveal preliminary information about a 5 lane road widening project along U.S. Highway 11 from the Daimler-Benz Facility to Highway 5 in the Woodstock area.
ALDOT spokesman John D McWilliams provided The Bibb Voice with the following details of the project. The plans include resurfacing and adding lanes to the roadway to provide motorists with a better drive and accommodate the ongoing industrial development in the area. The project will also improve traffic flow and provide an enhanced alternate route if there’s an incident on I-20/59.
Construction will likely begin sometime during 2020 or as early as Fall 2019 according to information that was discussed during the open meeting.
Where: US-11 from Daimler Benz Blvd. to Highway 5 (approximately seven miles).
Estimated cost: $46-51 million.
The Bibb Voice contacted Vance Mayor Keith Mahaffey to find out how citizens in the area are reacting to the announcement of the major road project. Mayor Mahaffey indicated that the road widening project will relieve traffic congestion along U.S. 11 and provide alternate traffic routes when there are accidents on I-59/20 or in times of emergencies. However, the project comes with some negatives for the Town of Vance and the citizens that live along U.S. 11.
The Town of Vance has two tax revenue producing businesses, a gas station/convenience store that will have to be removed to make way for the project, and a Dollar General that will lose most of its parking lot. The local post office will have to be relocated and a bank and doctors office will have to make major changes. In addition the Town Hall and Public Library may have to be relocated.
Property owners along U.S. 11 are still uncertain how the widening project will impact their property and their access rights along the roadway. Many of these issues are to be resolved in the future.
Mayor Mahaffey says that no one from ALDOT or from State Government is presently working with the Town of Vance to provide relocation assistance for Town Hall or public facilities.
While the industrial corridor along U.S. 11 continues to grow, provide jobs, and an economic windfall to the State and surrounding counties, the Town of Vance is not directly benefitting from the economic boom and it looks like its future existence is uncertain.
Vance, Alabama became a worldwide recognizable name and and often searched place on the map a few years ago (1997) when Mercedes-Benz broke ground for their new assembly plant in Vance.
Piper and Coleanor Alabama were world famous places in Bibb County at the turn of the 20th Century. Today you will only find them in faded photographs and history books.
Is Vance, Alabama going to become an Alabama town in our memory that only exists underneath a 5 lane road? Time is certainly going to tell.
THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE SOLELY THOSE OF THE WRITER AND ARE NOT THE OPINIONS OF THE BIBB VOICE CORPORATION.