Ground breaking near

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Features Editor

Since the first hint, about a year ago, that Wal-Mart might locate a distribution center in Brundidge, the town has been a-buzz with excitement.

As time nears for ground to be broken, there is an anxiousness that "always" surrounds the coming of something big in any community.

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Britt Thomas, city manager, said the target date for beginning construction on the

922,000 square-foot distribution center, that will employ up to 600 people at full work force, is April 1, but some concerns about the soil could slightly delay the ground breaking.

"I don’t know the details concerning the soil," Thomas said. "It has to do with the foundation and the Wal-Mart people are working on that now."

Thomas added that the problem is not a potentially serious one.

The City of Brundidge is moving

ahead with its responsibilities to the project.

"Plans are in place for the improvements on County Road

and U.S. Highway 231 that will make the intersection work properly for the amount of traffic in and out of the distribution center," Thomas said.

The estimated average daily trailer movement will be 1,350. That’s 675 trucks in and 675 out each day. To handle that large volume of traffic, the plans include a turn lane on Highway 231 and three or four lanes on County Road 6, Thomas said.

However, he said the engineering for the roadwork and construction takes a lot of time to get to that point.

The well is under construction on the Wal-Mart site and will have a pumping capacity of 400 gallons per minute.

In addition, bids have been awarded for the water lines to the facility and the construction of an elevated, single pedestal water storage tank on the site.

"We are moving along a critical path," Thomas said. "We must all be mindful that, like everything else, you can’t rush something that takes time."

No contract has been awarded for the site preparation which includes cutting and filling in dirt.

"The city is also working with South Alabama Electric Cooperative to relocate the electric distribution lines," Thomas said. "And, we are working with a Wal-Mart attorney to complete the lease for the property."

The property, about 149.1 acres, was purchased by the city with a state grant and city funds in the amount of $1.2 million – $1 million of state funds and $200,000 in city dollars. That amount also included sewage for the property.