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Neighbors say new church on Whitesburg Drive may create traffic headache

Some Huntsville residents are concerned about the potential traffic impact of a megachurch opening nearby.

Posted: Nov 24, 2017 8:02 PM
Updated: Nov 24, 2017 8:04 PM

A new church will be built along Whitesburg Drive in South Huntsville. The Church of the Highlands purchased land from the Walker family, just south of Drake Avenue.

According to the Hartford Institute of Religion Research, Church of the Highlands has the highest average attendance rate in the state of Alabama. More than 22,000 people attend services every Sunday, but, that includes all their locations across the state. The high attendance rate is what worries people in the surrounding communities.

Topper Birney lives in a neighborhood along Whitesburg Drive, just south of the future site of the church. "We certainly have a concentration of lots of churches in this immediate neighborhood, which is fine, but I'm very concerned over the traffic," said Birney.

Birney is worried the traffic congestion around his neighborhood and says Whitesburg Drive will need to be widened to accommodate the extra traffic. 

The City of Huntsville told WAAY 31 there are currently no plans in place to widen the street. Cole Walker sold the land to the church and says his family was also worried about the potential traffic. Which is why traffic studies have already been done to determine the impact. "All of the studies confirm what we thought to be a fact. That the impact is going to be unnoticeable. Particularly in relative that it's on Sunday. There's not very much traffic in the mornings," said Walker.

WAAY 31 reached out to Church of the Highlands several times in the last two days, but we were told church administrators would not be able to answer those questions until Monday due of the Thanksgiving holiday.

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