Franklin Free Press
Since he was first elected to the Alabama House of Representatives 23 years ago, Johnny Mack Morrow has answered one question more than any other from his constituents: “When will Franklin County complete an east-west four-lane corridor?”
It’s been more than a decade since the completion of the Hwy. 24 expansion from Hwy. 43 east to the Lawrence County line, and the road is also complete in western Franklin County from Hwy. 21 to the Mississippi state line. Morrow now has a time frame for the remaining stretch, from Hwy. 21 east to Russellville, after receiving notice last week from the Alabama Department of Transportation on the project status.
An e-mail dated April 10, 2014 from Adam Sandlin, District 2 Construction Manager for ALDOT, to Morrow indicated an estimated completion of the final phase by summer of 2016. Project APD-0355(507), as it’s officially named, which will construct 8.94 miles of additional lanes on Hwy. 24 from Dempsey to three miles west of Russellville city limits, was awarded to APAC Mid-South, Inc. for $18,547,185.35.
Work was to begin October 2, 2013, but Sandlin said weather delays and minor plan revisions set the project back. But the project should be underway this week.
“This will open us with a four-lane highway to connect with Interstate 22 as soon as Mississippi does what they’re supposed to do,” Morrow said. “I’ve always said I would work on making this a reality, and now the final phase is under contract.
“For 23 years, people have asked me why it’s taking so long, and I’ve always said we have just one problem—money.”