ALDOT gives relief to Ala. 36 congestion at I-65Published 12:44pm Tuesday, July 15, 2014
The Alabama Department of Transportation has added a turn signal to the traffic light on Alabama 36 at I-65, which officials believe will help ease congestion during peak travel times.
Now, motorists on the eastbound side of Alabama 36 will get a green arrow once traffic backs up to a certain, allowing those needing to get on the northbound I-65 ramp to turn left while westbound traffic is stopped.
State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said he saw the congestion himself while he was traveling on the roadway. So he requested that ALDOT study the intersection to see what could be done to ease the issues.
“It would back up so much from each direction because eastbound drivers couldn’t turn onto the I-65 on ramp because of the westbound traffic,” Orr said. “Then the southbound exit ramp would back up because drivers couldn’t go east on Highway 36.
“Now, the light will change to allow drivers to turn on to I-65 with the westbound traffic stopped. Hopefully, it will help for now, but the answer to the problem is to have a five-lane bridge across I-65. And that will cost millions of dollars.”
Mayor Don Hall said there are plans in the works through ALDOT to expand Alabama 36 from I-65 to Roan Road to a five-lane highway. However, those plans do not address a bridge expansion or replacement.
Hall said he believes that improving the Alabama 36 corridor from I-65 to U.S. 31 would provide a means for economic development. Specifically, he wants to see the road expanded from the I-65 bridge to Roan Road and then construct the bypass to Longhorn pass, rerouting through traffic out of downtown Hartselle.
“I think it will help our downtown businesses not to have all of the heavy traffic in downtown, and it will open up additional economic development opportunities,” Hall said.
ALDOT put the new light in operation by Monday.