By CRAIG KLEIMEYER
West Homewood residents can look forward to reduced traffic and safety problems along Oxmoor Road. Survey and design work has begun for the city’s Oxmoor Road improvements project.
City residents can expect construction to begin in 2014 and last about 18 months, according to City Council member Fred Hawkins. The improvements will span about a mile, from Green Springs Avenue to Barber Court.
“While it’s under construction, there will be a little bit of bother temporarily, but when it’s built, traffic and safety will be a lot better,” Hawkins said. “The road will be better designed to accommodate the traffic.” The plan includes turn lanes and road realignments that will improve traffic flow.
According to Hawkins, the Homewood City Council will soon determine a date for a public meeting to discuss the road projects with residents and business owners and to give the public an update on what to expect. The construction area is mostly industrial, and residents do not need to worry too much about traffic changes. Homewood City Council has signed a contract with Gonzalez Strength and Associates (GSA) for the work.
Hawkins has been working with Fred Cobb of the MPO technical committee and the city council on the project since 2008. At the time, the funding for the project was in jeopardy. In 2008, Hawkins found out that the city had the money for the Oxmoor Road and Shades Creek Greenways projects but might lose it. The Regional Planning Commission saved the nearly $13 million of federal funding, and City Council passed Hawkins’ resolution authorizing the 20 percent match money that the City of Homewood would need for the federal grant.
In February 2010, City Council presented schematic designs for the project at a public meeting at Hamburger Heaven, and the meeting resulted in overwhelming public support. After the meeting, Hawkins and Moody spoke with the mayor and City Council and were met with unanimous support for the project. Since then, federal funding for the project has been earmarked, and the plan has been included in the new Transportation Improvement Plan.
The Transportation Improvement Plan also includes the extension of the Shades Creek Greenway along Lakeshore Drive, funded by the other $8 million from the $13 million in federal funding. Hawkins said the design work and environmental clearance should take around a year. After completion, the greenway will be extended behind Wildwood to West Homewood Park, and you will be able to walk, run or bike from Colonial Brookwood Village to West Homewood Park.