Traffic light expected soon at busy Oxford intersection
by Eddie Burkhalter
Aug 14, 2013 | 5143 views |  0 comments | 86 86 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OXFORD — A proposed traffic light at the intersection of Leon Smith Parkway and Friendship Road might go up sooner than expected, said Oxford City Council president Steven Waits.

Bids on construction of the traffic light could be opened by the end of the month, Waits said, and work begin soon after.

An engineer hired by the city to conduct a traffic study of that intersection has done so, Waits said, and found that a traffic light there is warranted.

The council has debated for several years how to address the many wrecks that have occurred at that intersection since it opened in 2004, agreeing last month to move forward with plans to install a traffic light.

Regarding another transportation matter, the council updated an agreement Tuesday with the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission to continue to manage the city’s fixed-route bus system. The agreement must be renewed annually.

Shane Christian, transit project administrator with the planning and development commission, said one route of the Areawide Community Transportation System bus system snakes through Oxford. The route passes through the Oxford Exchange and by the Oxford Walmart. The bus system connects Oxford, Hobson City, Anniston and Weaver.

The agreement, which includes a continuation of the city’s on-demand American’s with Disabilities Act paratransit bus system, states that Oxford will pay 50 percent, or $151,618 in matching money next year in order to receive a federal grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation to pay for the bus service.

“We’re averaging around 2,300 trips a month on (those routes),” Christian said.

In another matter, Bill Bunn with Community Enabler Developer, a nonprofit organization that provides clothing, food and utility assistance to those in need, asked the council Tuesday to consider helping pay for renovations of Carpenter United Methodist Church, which was given to the agency last month.

The church needs work in order to make it useful as home base for the growing nonprofit, Bunn explained. Bunn said the cost of that renovation is estimated at $25,000.

Waits said there may be state laws that prohibit municipalities from giving cash assistance to nonprofits.

City attorney Bruce Rice said Oxford can contract with the nonprofit to provide certain services, which may make the donation legal. Waits asked that Rice look closer at the legality of the matter before the council makes a decision.

In other business, the council annexed 1.3 acres zoned residential at 1810 County Line Road, owned by Fred and Clemmie Young, as well as the property of Henry and Flossie Chatman at 1812 County Line Road.

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