Lauderdale County officials have been notified that the Federal Highway Administration is asking for another alternate route for the proposed new St. Florian Road.
County Engineer Ken Allamel said he met with highway officials last week and that two routes proposed earlier this year for the road “hit historical areas.”
“Basically, they have turned down the two alternative routes we submitted. So, we’ve got to go back and try to find a third route now,” Allamel said.
A route was selected about four years ago for the proposed road that would extend St. Florian Road from Lauderdale 47 into Florence-Lauderdale Industrial Park. Officials said the new road would ease heavy traffic on Church Road, which connects Lauderdale 47 to Alabama 17.
Traffic studies indicate approximately 12,000 vehicles travel through St. Florian each day.
Preliminary design work on the original proposal has been completed, but historical concerns delayed the project and prompted the Alabama Historical Commission and highway administration to ask for proposed alternate routes.
“We’ve got to find a route that will miss the historical property. We have a good idea of where those areas are now,” Allamel said.
The County Commission authorized Allamel to develop plans for the new route. The cost is estimated at $4,000.
“We’re too far into it not to see it played out,” Commission Chairman Dewey Mitchell said.
“We’ll use all of the other studies that we have done and try to develop a third route,” Allamel said.
He said the two alternates that were studied were north and south of the original route. Allamel said the alternates routes both go east off Parkway Drive in the industrial park for about a mile.
The southern route ran parallel with Church Road, also known as Lauderdale 30, and then turned south to go around St. Florian Park before connecting with Lauderdale 47 just south of the Buffler house.
The northern route came off Parkway Drive, and paralleled Church Road until it neared Brandenburg subdivision where it intersected with Church Road and continued on to Lauderdale 47.
Allamel said the new third alternate route will have to be farther south, toward the city of Florence.
St. Florian Police Chief Ralph Richey said the traffic problem through the town is not getting any better.
“If anything, it’s getting worse and it’s going to continue to get worse unless something is done,” Richey said. “Traffic is getting heavier and heavier here. There are more and more people moving out this way.
“And with the work that is being done on U.S. 43, more people are using (Lauderdale) 47 to get into Florence.”
Commissioner Larry Irons, who lives in the St. Florian area, said he has seen the problem with the traffic firsthand.
“I’ve sat in traffic 14, 15 minutes before just trying to get onto Lauderdale 47 from Church Road because of the traffic,” Irons said.
He said the purpose of the new road is to get traffic off Church Road.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.