By Dixon Hayes
BIRMINGHAM (WBRC) - Anniston residents could be the ones who finally come up with a less generic-sounding name for the area's newest major highway.
It's known (based on who you ask and which sign you read) as the "Eastern Parkway" or "East Bypass," and is being completed in stages. When it's finished in a few years it will connect I-20 with Highway 431 and become a major thoroughfare. The portion that goes through the McClellan property could even be finished by the Christmas holidays.
The Anniston City Council discussed the highway name this week but took no action. Council member Ben Little suggested getting input from citizens.
The idea of naming the highway has been long a topic of discussion in the area. Ideas include variations of the following:
- McClellan Parkway (the highway runs through part of what used to be Fort McClellan, an Army base that closed in 1999)
- Veterans Parkway (the area's military heritage includes bases and a lot of retired veterans)
- Freedom Riders Parkway (even though the infamous 1961 bus-burning incident happened a few miles away on another highway, specifically Highway 202)
- Barack Obama Parkway (because federal stimulus money helped complete the parkway; that one might be a tougher sell in an increasingly Republican county like Calhoun County)
- Golden Springs Parkway (since it connects with Golden Springs Road)
- any number of state and local politicians, past and present
- any number of various Indian names relative to the area's history
- Gerald Acker Parkway, after the longtime Calhoun County business leader and electrical contractor who played such a major role in pushing for the parkway in the first place.