Bypass traffic

Road construction on McClellan Blvd has caused long traffic delays and numerous accidents over the past several months.

Anyone frustrated by the traffic near the eastern bypass in northern Anniston could soon see relief, though about a month’s worth of work remains, according to state officials.

Weather permitting, southbound traffic lanes on U.S. 431 west of McClellan Boulevard will open Wednesday, and northbound traffic will continue in one lanes while paving work is complete, according to a news release issued Friday by the Alabama Department of Transportation. On June 3, the old connection between Lindale Drive and U.S. 431 will reopen, and the traffic signal there reactivated, according to the release.

Workers still must finish repaving McClellan Boulevard north of what is now U.S. 431, according to the release, add a service road from U.S. 431 to 43rd Street and paint permanent stripes on some roadways. The work is planned to be complete in about a month, the release said.

Local business owners are still feeling the effect of the construction, which includes lost motorists and dwindling profits.

“I’ve talked to four or five businesses just in the past two weeks that are just wondering if they have lost so much that they can’t stay open,” said Debbie Young, a local business owner. “I don’t know what to tell them.”

Young, who owns the Five Points Saks shopping center, home to Christian Corner Meats, feels like she is constantly giving directions to travelers. She has noticed navigation devices have not been able to keep up with all of the changes in the area.

Her businesses have not seen a profit this year, she said, but she believes her stores will remain open.

Others have not been so lucky, she said, “but we’re waiting for the miracle that we think is coming.”

She said her hope is that people in Oxford will use the bypass to trade in her community. “We’re looking for better days,” she said.

Young said she does not plan to take any legal action against the state to compensate for lost profits, but hopes the remaining businesses will band together to promote commerce in the area.

“ALDOT thanks motorists for their patience as we move forward to complete the Anniston Eastern Bypass,” a portion of the Friday release read.

The bypass, also known as Veterans Memorial Parkway, has been a long-anticipated gateway between Anniston and eastern Oxford, detouring around the traffic lights dotting downtown Anniston.

The$164 million project was funded both federally and by the state of Alabama. Work on the bypass began in 2001 and the road’s last section opened in December 2015.