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West Alabama Corridor project may have hit a speedbump

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 8:13 PM CDT|Updated: May. 3, 2022 at 8:28 PM CDT
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GREENSBORO, Ala, (WBRC) - Governor Ivey along with other state and regional leaders celebrated the groundbreaking of the so-called West Alabama Corridor back in November, a major highway that will stretch all the way from Mobile to Tuscaloosa. But some property owners in west Alabama are not pleased with how it’s being done.

Here in the Greensboro Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, dozens of property owners had a meeting with their attorney.

Eminent domain flap meeting at Greensboro Baptist Church fellowship hall
Eminent domain flap meeting at Greensboro Baptist Church fellowship hall(WBRC)

Some are not pleased that the project is taking place at all while others feel they’re not getting a fair deal from ALDOT to buy their property or parts of their property to make room for the highway. The West Alabama Corridor is an $800 million project.

“So what a person is entitled to is payment of an appraised value of the property that is taken at the highest and best use, not at its current use and they’re also entitled to the damages that would cost to the property that’s not being taken, and many of these offers don’t appear to be highest and best use of appraisals,” said eminent domain attorney Jeff Sewell of Jefferson County.

“We try to take as little as possible and make it as easy as possible. We try to stay away from historical sites, churches, cemeteries. Of course, we don’t want to take people’s houses but sometimes that’s what happens, so we try to do what we can to make the process as easy as possible,” said West Alabama ALDOT regional spokesman John McWilliams.

Attorney Sewell says they’ll start in probate court and eventually perhaps move into circuit court. Now with all that said, John McWilliams provided WBRC with a couple of photos showing some recent meetings with other property owners and indicated the meetings went well with those property owners not having any issues with how ALDOT is progressing with the project. State leaders say the entire West Alabama Corridor construction project will take about 5 years.

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