Multiple bomb threats have been made against Alabama transportation officials, law enforcement and others in reaction to eminent domain plans for a major highway expansion project.
Two emails, sent June 6 and 7 to Alabama Dept. of Transportation officials and local news outlets, said bombs had been left at agency offices, the homes of its officials, at offices of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and at the main office of the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa.
In a statement, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says it is aware of the most recent bomb threats, which are being investigated by the State Bureau of Investigation in conjunction with local and federal partners.
No further information was available as of June 9, as the investigation is ongoing, according to the agency.
The project in question, the estimated $775-million West Alabama Highway, aims to connect rural parts of southwest Alabama from Thomasville to Moundville to the Interstate system by expanding existing two-lane highways into four-lane highways, according to the state DOT
Near the town of Dixons Mills, the state is set to appropriate 20 acres and four homes owned by the Moore family via eminent domain, according to a family website. It is petitioning DOT to change project plans.
The first email said bombs had been placed in the homes of eight DOT officials, including Transportation Director John Cooper and Bureau Chief and Government Relations Manager Tony Harris.
“We are appalled that the Alabama department of transportation is trying to take away the Moore family’s homestead,” the email reads. “This is an abuse of power and you deserve to be killed for this.”
Family members told an NBC affiliate in Birmingham they had nothing to do with the threats, and they were horrified by them.
“You want us to continue doing this?” the June 6 email says. “We won’t stop until you leave the Moores alone.”
The June 7 email names mostly the same officials and locations, and both are laced with profanity.
The highway project is broken up between a design-bid-build first phase, the Linden Bypass near Linden; and a design-build portion of about 70 miles of highway and 25 bridges.
Right-of-way acquisition began in fall 2021, according to the state DOT. Project maps show the planned highway expansion crossing multiple lots owned by the Moore family, with multiple buildings within the future right of way.
The DOT is scheduled to award the project June 24.
Dixons Mills, where the Moore family lives, is north of Thomasville and near the southern terminus of the project. The family website argues that the state "only needs 94 ft from the existing asphalt to widen the lanes," and not the 190- to 225-ft-wide section that the agency currently requires. The family adds that 120 acres of the family’s homestead will be impacted, four houses demolished and 11 family members displaced.
"We are not opposed to the highway project," a statement from the family says. "We are opposed to routing it through our community when there are other options; but if it must be built here, we are opposed to the excess and unnecessary amount of land the state is proposing to take."