Road work continues on Jack Warner Parkway/MLK project

Jack Warner parkway has just become harder to access.
Phase 2 of the city’s Jack Warner Parkway/Martin Luther King Boulevard improvement project is under way.

“It’s a roadway improvement project,” City Associate Engineer Bryan Gurney said. “We will be replacing some aged utilities, some water and sewer lines, we will be installing improved drainage. We will have a median through the center for access management and we will have a sidewalk on the north side of the road for better pedestrian connectivity.”

Gurney said the improvement project has a price tag of $32 million. Nearly $5 million of that was approved by the Tuscaloosa City Council for this phase of the project.

“At the end of it, we will have a new, beautiful section of Jack Warner,” Gurney said. “It will be something the city can be proud of.”

Improvements may cause slowdowns in the area including along Jack Warner Parkway and 21st Street, but businesses in the area will still be accessible through designated lanes, Gurney said.

Comfort Inn and Suites Regional Director of Sales and Marketing Janell Colburn’s business is right in the middle of the construction.

“That is going to help my business when people are coming to visit Tuscaloosa,” Colburn said.  I know that road construction can be difficult. It can be aggravating. I really feel like it is a means to the end. It is a necessary evil. In other words, whenever we are developing in town, you are going to have these times. It is just one of those things that gets on our nerves a little bit, but I we have to remember it is progress.”

When it comes to fears of losing business due to the construction, Colburn said she’s remaining optimistic.

“I don’t think road construction is ever going to stop traffic from coming into the area,” she said. “Look what has been going on McFarland (Boulevard) for years. I have never seen any hotel suffer because of road construction. Now, do we have to let the guests know there might be a different way to get in and out? Of course. But again, that is communication. Communication is always the key. ”

The project could be completed as early as the end of the year.

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