Road closure topic of public hearings

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 12, 2000

Staff Writer

Pike County leaders will consider the closing of County Road 289, this week.

At 4:45 p.m., Monday, the Pike County Commission will invite the public to speak on their concerns regarding of the closure of the road known as Oak Grove Road.

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Closure of the road is needed to extend the runway safety zone at the Troy Municipal Airport.

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford has told commissioners the runway safety zone has to be a top priority in order to keep the airport license.

State regulations require a 200-foot safety zone at the end of the runway and it’s recommended the zone be 220 to 225 feet.

Cost of the project is estimated to be between $60,000 and $80,000.

Terry Macaluso, vice president of Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon Inc. in Dothan, told commissioners alternatives were considered, but "we kept coming back to closing the road.

"It just seemed to be the answer," Macaluso said of the road closure. "I did not make that recommendation lightly."

However, the FAA has informed him if the city plans to use federal dollars on the project, the runway needs to be brought up to standard.

Macaluso said the option of re-routing the roadway has been thrown out because of cost. It would cost about $250,000 to re-route the road because of wetlands and a church cemetery in that vicinity.

"The pros of closing that road far outweigh the negatives," Macaluso said. "It is absolutely vital, although it’s something that will probably inconvenience some people on this road."

Tim Hornsby fears for the health of his mother, who has lived on Oak Grove Road for 25 years, if the road is closed.

The road closure would lengthen the time it takes to get to her house, he said, adding the 2.78 miles would become 4.865 miles.

"If my mother had a heart attack, the rescue squad would have to travel twice as far," Hornsby told commissioners during a meeting last month.

He also said his step father, who sold additional land to the city, was promised the road would never be closed.

Although his mother is his major concern, he said two school buses and mail carriers would also be inconvenienced by the road closure.

"It’s more than my mother that’s going to be affected," Hornsby said.

The city council could have closed the roadway without the county’s input, Lunsford said, adding the city leaders did not want to work in that manner.

County commissioners chose to also have a public hearing even though the city had one on July 24.

Troy City Council members will likely vote on the issue during their meeting at 5 p.m., Tuesday.