City of Opelika Applies for Federal Grant to Build I-85 Connector
There’s a push underway to build a big highway connector through North Opelika.
“We feel like this would have a tremendous impact to Northern Opelika, it will benefit our industrial partners, the Opelika Sportsplex, it will be tremendous,” said Scott Parker, City of Opelika Engineer.
The city of Opelika asked the U.S. Department of Transportation for $20 million dollars to connect Highway 280 from Veterans Parkway to U.S. 431, through Morris Ave.,and to I-85 by the Sportsplex.
“Promoting a system where trucks and vehicles and traffic can get to I-85 without going to exit 62 and can go to exit 64 and where the new Sportsplex road is being constructed, it’s under-utilized at this time, so this will reduce heavy traffic at exit 62,” said Parker.
One resident who lives along Morris Ave. said she would like to see pedestrian and cyclist lanes added to this phase.
“We can make this a win-win situation if we install a dedicated 12 foot off road, really nice, safe place for cyclist and pedestrians. I think we can convince our neighbors this is a good thing,” said Shirley Lazenby, Opelika Resident.
One teacher at Morris Ave. Intermediate school agrees. He said a safe bike path would encourage more kids to pedal to school.
“It will be a gateway for more psychical activity with kids walking to and from school, but with our bikeology program, it could be part of our course and they can learn to ride on the road in a safe environment,” said Chris Rhodes.
Good ideas which will have to wait, for now. It’ll be six months before the city knows if it’s got the grant to move forward with this I-85 connector plan.