Council mulls closing portion of Boiling Springs Road
by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhalter@annistonstar.com
Oct 23, 2013 | 3524 views |  0 comments | 91 91 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Oxford City Council members are considering closing a small portion of Boiling Spring Road where it intersects with Leon Smith Parkway, but some homeowners there disapprove of the idea.

Council president Steven Waits asked the council during a Tuesday work session to consider closing the road.

Current plans for a major road improvement project along the parkway call for Boiling Springs to be realigned to intersect with the entrance of the city’s new sports complex, to be located across the parkway. Aligning those roads and installing a traffic light there would make what is expected to be a busy intersection safer, city officials have said.

Moving the road would also be expensive, Waits said, estimating it could cost between $500,000 and $750,000. The city was awarded $5 million by the Alabama Department of Transportation through the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program to pay for a portion of the overall project. The city will still have to pay about $1.5 million to finish the work, Waits has said.

Fred Denney, the city’s project manager, said it’s difficult to predict exactly how much realigning Boiling Springs would cost the city because the project is still in the planning stage.

“It’s hard to say. We don’t have a total bill,” Denney said.

Any money saved by the closure could be used in other portions of the project, Denney said, which includes widening bridges along the parkway and installing turn lanes into the sports complex.

Attempts Wednesday to reach Waits for comment were unsuccessful.

Closing that end of Boiling Springs would mean residents in the more than 80 homes in the area would have to drive south to Friendship Road to exit their neighborhoods.

For Ester Austin, who lives on the 900 block of Boiling Springs, that’s not something she’d like to see happen. She’s lived on that road all her life, the 81-year-old Austin said by phone Wednesday.

Austin said she uses that section of Boiling Springs three or four times a day, to shop and to go to her doctor in Anniston.

“I’m not interested at all in closing the road,” Austin said.

Henry Bobo lives near the end of Boiling Springs close to the intersection at the parkway. He said closing it would be an inconvenience to the many people who live there.

“That would make me drive five or six more miles to get to Publix,” Bobo said. “Where it takes me five minutes it would take me 15 minutes to go around.”

Councilman Chris Spurlin was on vacation and did not attend Tuesday’s meeting. Attempts Wednesday to reach Spurlin and councilmen Mike Henderson and Phil Gardner were unsuccessful.

Councilwoman Charlotte Hubbard said by phone Wednesday that she would not vote to close the road.

“That road, to me, is a very viable road,” Hubbard said. “It would save us money, but in the long run is it really worth it?”

Waits said Tuesday that the matter could come up for a vote by the council at the next meeting, scheduled for Nov. 12.

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.

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