Portion of Highway 31 could reopen to drivers before the start of new school year

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SPANISH FORT, Ala. (WKRG) — Driving on Highway 31 in Spanish Fort hasn’t been easy, but relief is on the way soon.

“It’s good news that it’s going to be open soon after three years,” said Roger Syx, who works at Country Wagon Farm Market. 

The major widening project is still underway on the Eastern Shore, but in the coming weeks, the stretch of highway between Rockwell Elementary School and the TimberCreek community opens to traffic in all four lanes just in time for the start of the new school year. Crews expect the work in that area to be completed by Aug. 11. 

“It’s just a confusing mess all the way around,” Syx said.

Although that’s good news for traffic congestion near Spanish Fort High School and Rockwell Elementary, it’s not necessarily a perfect scenario for Roger Syx and his employer.

“We’re down a considerable amount because customers can’t get in here. They don’t know how to get in here, and when they do, they’re confused as how to get out,” he said.

Even when construction is over, he’s worried the produce stand along Highway 31 will continue to suffer. He says the project has cut off access to the Country Wagon parking lot, forcing customers to go about a half-mile further to loop around and head back towards the business.

“Customers are not going to be able to get here without doing a U-turn at a major intersection,” Syx said. 

The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) told WKRG News 5 it has no plans of changing the design to allow for easier access. Further west on Highway 31, crews continue to work on drainage projects. 

ALDOT sent us the following statement Wednesday afternoon regarding the continued work along Highway 31:

“They will continue pavement leveling operations from Sunday night to Tuesday morning. After those, they will begin placing the final wearing (driving) surface for the southbound travel lanes starting on the east end tie in working back west to the current traffic shift near Papa John’s gas station. This area is closed to through traffic in this current phase. Following that, the contractor will shift southbound traffic to the final configuration between the current traffic shift at Papa John’s and the east end tie in. Northbound traffic will stay in its current configuration. Weather permitting, all traffic will be in its final configuration in a few more weeks.”

Statement from Alabama Department of Transportation

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