By JOYANNA LOVE / Editor-in-chief
Traffic problems in Jemison after recent crashes on Interstate 65 and internet blackouts have prompted Mayor Eddie Reed to look for ways to improve the situation.
At the Jemison City Council on July 19, Reed briefed council on the situation and let them know he would meet with other local mayors on July 20 to discuss options. The Chilton County Commission as well as state and federal officials have also been made aware of the traffic problem.
Reed said the goal was to “see what we can do to get some relief” from the traffic situation, as this is negatively impacting local businesses and sales tax revenues.
“For the past five years we’ve been, I guess terrified, I could tell… every time there is an accident on 65, Jemison and the main towns on (highway) 31 have had to control the traffic. “, Reed mentioned. “It has been devastating for our city. Our businesses are having problems … Our police department is constantly called on 65. ”
According to the Jemison Police Department, there have been nearly 500 accidents on the nearby stretch of highway in the past 17 months.
Reed said local business owners have contacted city hall with concerns, likely because the traffic makes it difficult for customers to access.
The mayor also said the increased traffic when it is diverted from the freeway to Jemison makes it very difficult for residents of County Road 44 to get out of their driveways.
A recent accident plagued the city for eight hours, according to Reed.
Reed acknowledged that any solution on Interstate 65 would likely take years.
“Even if they add an extra lane to make it easier to get around it will take a while, but something has to be done,” Reed said.
He said the situation would only get worse with the planned residential development on County Road 44 and the commercial development the county is planning.
A recent two-day internet blackout also disrupted local business operations.
“We plan to contact the appropriate people, I guess the Civil Service Commission,” Reed said. “We don’t know where we’re going with this yet.”
He said the companies had contacted city officials about their inability to operate during the monthly blackouts and something needed to be done to remedy the situation.
Also during the meeting, the board approved the opening of an account at Marion Bank and Trust specifically for the funds it will receive from the Federal American Rescue Plan. Having a separate account will help you keep good financial records.