IVEY ANNOUNCES MCFARLAND BOULEVARD EXPANSION FUNDED BY NEW GAS TAX
Reported by WVUA 23 Reporter Erin McNally
Written by WVUA 23 Digital Reporter David Williams III
Tuscaloosa is getting the first road project funded with revenue from Alabama’s new 10-cent gas tax.
The project will focus on the expansion of McFarland Boulevard. Each day, more than 50,000 people travel on the road and that’s why it has been chosen as part of Gov. Kay Ivey’s Rebuild Alabama First Year Plan. Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said the expansion will help improve the area’s traffic flow and help residents and visitors get where they’re going quicker and safer.
“This project is going to be needed,” Maddox said. “It’s certainly one of the busiest roads in Alabama. And this infrastructure improvement is going to be a great opportunity and a great catalyst for economic development and new jobs in the years to come.”
This project will be making improvements along Alabama Highway 69 and U.S. Highway 82 as it leads to Rice Mine Road. Once construction begins, the city of Tuscaloosa may work with the Alabama Department of Transportation to improve water, sewer and stormwater lines.
Juanita Duff, who lives in Green County and works in Tuscaloosa, said she believes this new project will be be bad in the short term but great in the long term.
“Construction is really terrible,” Duff said. “It’s so hard to get from here to there. And I have to do all my business in Tuscaloosa because I live in Green County. But I know it’s going to be an improvement. When I moved here 14 years ago I thought it was a little small country town, but it’s growing bigger and bigger and the construction is going on over and over and over again. And so it’s good in the long run but it’s terrible for drivers.”
But there is some good news for drivers worrying about the construction amid all the other projects happening in and around Tuscaloosa. This project won’t start for another two to four years.
“In the long run I think it’s great, but for right now it’s been tough to get around because traffic’s been backed up, especially on McFarland,” Tuscaloosa resident Nick Moran said. “So I think it’s good that they wait a little longer to work on a new project.”