By Todd Rauch
For the Opelika

The Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Planning Organization (AOMPO) held two meetings on May 1 to get public input on the area’s Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). Each urbanized area with a population of more than 50,000 people that accepts federal transportation funds in required to have an MPO along with an inter-modal transportation plan with at least a 20-year horizon, according to the Federal Highway Act of 1962. LRTP’s must be updated every five years and outlines the region’s transportation vision and lists all future projects which expect to be undertaken in the next 20 to 30 years.
Neel-Schaffer Engineering Solutions, based out of Birmingham, was awarded the bid to write Auburn-Opelika’s LRTP and moderated both meetings. The first meeting was held from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Bennie Adkins Meeting Center in Opelika, a stakeholder meeting for community leaders who work with city planning, transportation, emergency services and city government. An interactive survey asked community leaders important questions about transportation priorities, potential challenges to implementing projects, and causes of congestion in areas of the community.
The second meeting that day was held from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Lee-Russell Council of Governments Building, was open to the public and designed for brainstorming and public information sharing about future transportation needs in the Auburn-Opelika area. Everyone was given surveys along with identification stickers to place on a large board to rank what they thought were the most important transportation budget priorities in the area. At the close of the meeting the two highest budget priorities were improving public transport and use of technology & new road designs to reduce traffic.
The LRTP planning process can be broken down in to five distinct phases, with public and stakeholder input being used in every phase. The AOMPO is currently in the first phase which takes the vision from community leaders and concerned citizens to implement in the LRTP. If you missed the meeting and would still like to take the survey, visit