Residents who are opposed to a flyover bridge a half mile from their neighborhood at the beginning of a controversial new roadway and bridge project may have gotten some relief.
“They’re finally going to let the citizens in on this and they are supposed to let everyone know what’s going on,” resident Mike Powell said.
Powell lives in Craft Farms and says he has met with state officials who now say the bridge has been taken off the table. Preliminary work is still being done for the project and at least seven land condemnations are headed to Baldwin County Circuit Court.
“Right now, there is a proposal to take that damn flyover out of our backyard,” Powell said. “Supposedly they are going to move the road further east closer to the Foley Beach Express. I don’t have anything set in stone they’re going to totally do away with the flyover.”
Powell has been in contact with state officials including Southwest Region Engineer Vince Calametti and Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) Director John Cooper about the project. He said a meeting is planned for November between state officials and residents.
Early next year residents in the South Baldwin County area should begin to see signs of activity along a corridor for a new road and bridge project.
“We’re finalizing design, right-of-way relocation, environmental documents and utility coordination,” ALDOT Southwest Region Pre-Construction Engineer Edwin Perry said. “It will be two-lane initially but with ability to go to four in the future once traffic need dictates.”
The project completion date is still 2020, Perry said, but some of the cases on condemnation of private land for the roadway may still be in court during construction.
“The state can proceed with the construction of the project if they pay into court the amount the probate court land commissioners award,” attorney Warren Herlong said.
He initially represented owners of seven tracts, three of which have been resolved.
His unresolved cases include an offer of $3.8 million to owners Laura Almaroad, Wanda Dickman and Joy Sprunger. Others include Doyce and Shirley Ellenberg, who were offered $1.2 million for 21.25 acres; the Williams Joseph Evans Revocable Trust, which was offered $737,150 for 3.09 acres; and Anthony and Patricia Diliberto, who were offered $405,000 for 8.38 acres.
Attorney Richard Davis has two cases in circuit court including the owners of Pandion Ridge, who have land on the south side of the Intracoastal Waterway. ALDOT initially offered them $3.7 million for 49.75 acres. On the north side of the waterway, where the bridge footing is planned, the state offered Coastal Resort Properties of North Carolina $943,150 for 29 acres.
The Baldwin County Bridge Co., a subsidiary of the company that owns the Foley Beach Express, was offered $9,750 for .13 acres and is also awaiting a court date.