DAPHNE, Ala. (WKRG) – A booming population and busy parking lots are leading to problems on the road in Daphne.

“This will actually help. It will prevent wrecks. It will prevent backups and things like that, so it will give people a safe way to travel,” said Daphne Mayor Robin LeJeune.

Mayor LeJeune is talking about major improvements coming to Highway 98 between County Road 64 and Van Avenue. A new service road, Lavender Lane, will help ease congestion and allow easier access to businesses like Chick-fil-A and Target on the east side of the highway. Lavender Lane will run behind Chick-fil-A and connect to a new traffic light in front of police headquarters.

“So, you’ll be able to go to a light and safely cross Highway 98. Then, we’ll add some turn lanes and a few improvements there,” he explained.

Part of those improvements will prevent drivers from exiting onto southbound Highway 98 out of the Target and Chick-fil-A parking lots. Right now there’s no date on when the project will start, but once it does start it will take several months to complete.

The city is working with the Alabama Department of Transportation on the new design, which is estimated to cost over $3 million. Right now Mayor LeJeune tells us the plans are almost finalized and then the project will go out to bid.

“The engineering drawings that have to be approved by ALDOT are at the 95% mark,” said LeJeune.

City officials are also working with two new businesses looking to build on the corner of Highway 98 and Van Avenue. The planning commission is already looking at designs to make sure the added traffic doesn’t create additional problems.