Proposed connector will benefit Pike Co.

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 15, 2001

Staff Writer

A proposed connector linking Dothan to Interstate 10 in Florida has the potential to be a huge boast to the businesses in Pike County.

Gov. Don Siegelman made the announcement on Tuesday that the Alabama Department of Transportation would be moving forward with proposals to build the connector.

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Current plans are for the connector to be accessible through U.S. Highway 231, as well as Highways 431, 84, and 52.

Siegelman said that increased access to Alabama’s Wiregrass would enhance the region’s ability to recruit new industry and new jobs.

"A connector between Dothan and Interstate-10 has the potential to become a major corridor for economic growth, providing a more efficient transportation link to Florida and linking Dothan to a revitalized State Port in Mobile," Siegelman said.

The Pike County Chamber of Commerce has been meeting with local city and business leaders for more than a year in order to plan how Pike County could best benefit from this proposed connector.

Marsha Gaylard, president of the Pike chamber of Commerce, said the connector could be beneficial to business along U.S. Highway 231.

"If this connector were to become a reality there would be a tremendous increase in the amount of tourism traffic along 231," Gaylard said. "This would dramatically improve our businesses in Troy and Brundidge, as well as Ozark and all the other communities that have built up along Highway 231."

The interstate connector would also provide an opportunity for businesses to expand away from the already crowded Highway 231, Gaylard said.

"This will give our communities a chance to grow out to the interstate," Gaylard said. "This part of the state has not grown because there is no interstate."

Gaylard also said the presence of an nearby interstate would stimulate the growth of industry.

"Industry is attracted to where there is an interstate," Gaylard said.

Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage feels the connector would be beneficial to his community.

"If this happens, then it would be very beneficial to the business along 231 in Brundidge," Ramage said.

Mike Griffin, Seventh Division engineer for the Alabama Department of Transportation said that their will be interchanges connecting

Hwy. 231 to the I-10 connector, but the project is still in the planning stages.

"Anytime you are dealing with a project of this size, with this much money involved the timetable is very long term," Griffin said.

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford was unavailable for comment.