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Following fatal wreck, drivers want Cecil Ashburn Drive widened

City engineers are thinking about shutting the road down completely, so construction can finish in a year.

Posted: May. 30, 2018 6:35 PM
Updated: May. 30, 2018 9:40 PM

Following the fatal car wreck this morning, the city is still working on plans to widen Cecil Ashburn Drive.

City engineers have been planning for years to widen Cecil Ashburn Drive into four lanes. Now they think it's best to close the road down completely during construction.

"I know someone's daughter who got killed as a result from injuries and a wreck on that road," said Peigi Leach.

Peigi Leach drives Ashburn Cecil Drive several days a week. She wasn't surprised when she heard about the deadly car wreck from early Wednesday morning.

"Part of it is driver and attention and the rest of it is, they should have made it wider to begin with," Leach said.

She likes driving through Cecil Ashburn Drive because it's a convenient when she's trying to get to the other side of the city.

City engineer Kathy Martin said at first the intent for the widening project was to have one lane open during peak hours. That would have pushed construction back to over two years. Plus the cost of traffic control would put the project over budget.

"But the whole idea of having to close it down for about two years. I'm like ah. That's going to be a tough one for a lot of people," Leach said.

Now, engineers are thinking about shutting the road down completely, so construction can finish in a year. Drivers would have to take alternate routes .

"It would have been taken longer to do that. To have the access and then take it away. It's harder on the people and since cost go up, more expensive," Leach said.

The $25 million project would also include better safety measures such as using a higher friction asphalt, making it easier for cars to drive during wet conditions. Plus adding a concrete island to keep drivers from crossing into on coming traffic. Until then, drivers will have to make it their responsibility to be cautious.

"Especially when there's a lot of traffic and minimizing distraction like not checking my phone if I get a text message and just doing everything I can," said Gus Arnold.

City engineers said they're still getting input from the public and doing research before getting final approval from city council.

The Alabama Department of Transportation will pay for half of the project.

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