While the state embarks on major road construction projects involving the expansion of Ross Clark Circle and related roads, Dothan officials have been considering their own major endeavor.
Currently city contractors are about 60% of the way through the design phase of several proposed changes to the Honeysuckle Road corridor. Officials hope the adjustments improve traffic flow along the north-south road, addressing congestion that leads to consternation for local residents.
Soon, though, city leaders will provide more details about the project during a public meeting at the Westgate Park gymnasium from 4-7 p.m. Nov. 19. Dothan Public Works Director Charles Metzger said the meeting will provide insight to which properties could be impacted — and by how much — should the city execute the project in the near future.
“In some places you’re going from an 80- to a 100- or a 110-foot right of way,” he said.
The corridor plan contains three major components. The first widens Honeysuckle Road to five lanes from West Main Street to Fortner Street.
Next the city plans to realign Honeysuckle Road south of Alabama Highway 52. Before the thoroughfare reaches the Dothan Utilities complex, officials want to take the road westward then southward to eliminate another road that approaches a convoluted intersection near Dothan Utilities.
The final stage will extend Honeysuckle Road to Taylor Road, tying the two together at a proposed roundabout at Campbellton Highway.
One aspect of the biweekly Dothan City Commission meetings that usually passes without discussion encountered at least one “nay” vote this week.
District 4 Commissioner John Ferguson objected to an advance travel request to send Personnel Director Delvick McKay and Finance Director Lisa Reeder to a University of Virginia Darden School of Business conference at a total cost of $11,700. District 5 Commissioner Beth Kenward supported Ferguson’s claim that the request was excessive.
“Twelve thousand dollars — that’s college tuition,” she said.
City Manager Kevin Cowper said the conference is a seven-day, intensive-training seminar that helps city executives get fresh ideas on how to improve customer service and empower their employees in that process. Improving customer service has been a focus of city commissioners in recent years.
Cowper said he has attended the training before and believes all city department leaders need to take the course at some point.
“I’ve seen the benefits and the dramatic change in the staff (that follows),” he said.
“That all sounds good, but I think we need more heads-up,” Ferguson said before voting against the requests. “By far this is the most expensive trip I can remember.”
Commissioners accepted some good news Tuesday after the project to develop a walking/biking trail from the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine toward Ross Clark Circle came in under budget.
The city saved $45,166.27 from the overall contract, meaning it spent $150,347.53 for the project. A federal grant covered $400,000.
With Veterans Day occurring Monday, the Houston County Commission regular meeting will be pushed to Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Houston County Administration Building.
Dothan’s Personnel Board will meet Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in the Dothan Civic Center boardroom, while the Historic Preservation Commission will meet Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Dothan Civic Center commission chambers.