Industrial park to build access road

Published 4:51 am Wednesday, March 2, 2005

By By Lee Weyhrich
Construction work on a new access road leading from Jack Springs Road to the Atmore Industrial Park is slated to begin this spring.
The new road will shorten the distance to the interstate by more than three miles.
According to Marsha Rogers with the Escambia County Industrial Development Authority, the city has received several grants to provide easier access to the facilities.
"It's 2.4 miles to the interstate there, giving easier access to the interstate and making it more appealing to companies because its closer to the interstate," Rogers said.
The industrial park has been in existence since 1968 when Masland Carpet moved into the park, she said.
"We're just glad to have that addition to the park because it gives us an entrance to the park from exit 54," she said.
The current entrance to the park is on Hwy. 31, which some believe has made it less appealing to new businesses.
"It will encourage other businesses to come and this will give us another way to market the park because it's closer to the interstate," Rogers said.
According to Rogers the park is currently 6.1 miles from I-65 and semi-trucks have to drive through downtown to get to the park.
Rogers does not currently know where the project stands.
"It's been in the works and I'm sure they had to do some engineering and send it to the state," Rogers said.
The Atmore City Council received an $880,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation during its last meeting to help fund the road project. The grant was made possible as part of the Highway Improvement Program, which will be used for preliminary engineering and right-of-way acquisition of the project.
Though Mayor Howard Shell does not know an exact date when construction will begin he does know where the project stands at this point.
"Construction hasn't started yet, we are in the engineering phase now and we're hoping contracts will be let for construction by spring of this year," Shell said.
The park, which occupies 500 acres of land, currently houses Atmore Industries, Masland Carpet, Alto Products, Tiger Sunbelt, Escofab and Swift Lumber.
The road project will be funded by grants to the city.
"We have received several grants to build the access road from Jack Springs to Hwy. 31 West," Shell said.
The current system of traveling through town to get to the park has been a problem almost as long as I-65 has been the route of choice for commercial travel.
"This will enhance the viability of our industrial park by giving it a connection to the interstate," Shell said. "When we get this cut-through they can go down Jack Springs a lot easier than coming into town. It will also open other area of the park up for development."
As soon as the state approves the road the bidding will begin for construction. No date has been set for a groundbreaking or project completion at this time.

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