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State to build new Alabama Welcome Center on Interstate 85 in Chambers County

LANETT — The Alabama Department of Transportation has plans to demolish the current Alabama Welcome Center on Interstate 85 in Chambers County.

According to ALDOT Area Operations Engineer Shannon Jones, the conditions and age of the current welcome center have led to the state deciding to replace it.

Jones said the original welcome center was built in 1977.

“The original plumbing and electrical have become very expensive to repair and maintain,” he said. “Also, upgrades will be made in compliance with ADA regulations, which will include a larger area for tourism and restrooms.”

Part of those larger restrooms includes family restrooms and the main restrooms will have two sections where a section can be cleaned or repaired, while the other section remains open.

The low bid for the project was awarded to the Forsyth Building Company of Anniston for $11.5 million.

Jones said part of the bid included demolition, a new building, drainage work, curb work, sidewalk work, paving work, outdoor areas, lighting, signs and landscape.

He said the state is having a pre-construction meeting with the contractor Tuesday to map out a schedule for demolition and construction of the new building.

However, there wasn’t a timeline as to how long the welcome center will be closed. Jones said the state expects the contractor to clear the building in the first part of November for demolition.