Bypass road for the southern part of the city is critical in a variety of ways

Published 9:00 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen took a big step toward the completion of the sports complex last week when it approved a right of access agreement with Sports Fields Inc., the parent company of The Sports Force, to allow company officials to survey and assess the Fisher Ferry property in preparation to design the facility.

Monday, the board takes another important step, not only for the sports complex, but for the city. The committee appointed by Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to select an engineering firm to engineer and design a bypass road from U.S. 61 South to Halls Ferry Road is expected to recommend one of four companies for the job.

City officials see the estimated $10 million South Loop Road as the key to helping relieve traffic from residents and U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center employees on Halls Ferry Road, provide an access road to the sports complex and be an avenue to open undeveloped property between U.S. 61 South and Halls Ferry Road.

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The engineering firm selected to prepare the design and specifications for the road will be tasked with finding the best route for a road that will have the least effect on the residents who live in the area. In that effort, the engineers will have the help of a committee of residents, city officials and representatives from the ERDC appointed by the mayor to work with the firm in selecting the most preferred route.

Building a bypass road for the southern part of the city as a way to reduce traffic makes sense. For a two-lane road, Halls Ferry Road is narrow, and the combination of constant north-south traffic on Halls Ferry to Fisher Ferry Road and other local streets becomes complicated when ERDC’s 1,700 employees head into work in the mornings and go home in the afternoons. Add school bus traffic during nine months of the year, and the congestion on Halls Ferry is even worse.

That’s why building the South Loop is as important, or more so, than the sports complex. It will provide an alternate route for people trying to get to their homes along and off U.S. 61 South. It will hopefully provide an efficient way to move traffic, and we’ll need that if we are to expand and attract industry.