Area residents recall only too well the rash of accidents and fatalities that occurred on the western 275 bypass when it opened a number of years ago. The state eventually put flashing lights in place to help call attention to the intersection, but only after the tragic loss of lives there.
As long as it’s taken to see the northern bypass project come to completion — which is now expected in July — we had hoped for more.
According to discussions at this week’s Talladega City Council meeting, the state is only planning to put stop signs in place.
Some on the city council wanted a traffic light to control the intersection, so that traffic won’t back up waiting to cross. But that’s not a perfect solution, either. The intersection is at the bottom of a long hill, which will make it more difficult for vehicles to stop, and more likely drivers will try to “stretch” the yellow light.
But city officials are told even that can’t happen until after the bypass is open and traffic studies can be done to decide if there is a need for a light.
Councilman Donnie Miller said at a the meeting, “You’re not going to be able to stop in an 18-wheeler coming over that hill. How many people are going to have to be killed before they do something?”
Council President Horace Patterson added, “And if you’re traveling on the bypass, you better go ahead and take a picnic lunch,” if you’re waiting at a stop sign.
Given the city’s experience with bypass intersections, the state’s apparent failure to plan for traffic control at this intersection is outrageous.
We would have liked to have seen construction of an overpass at the intersection, with ramps for moving to or from 77. That would likely be the safest solution.
At the very least lighting for the intersection in addition to flashing warning lights need to be in place.
The placement of stop signs alone simply does not seem to be a reasonable solution for safety.