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A I-459 Message Sign Goes Down


This morning, a dump truck contractor operated by Dunn Construction somehow hit the bottom of a dynamic message sign and this caused the sign to come crashing down.  This sign is along south I-459 before the U.S. 280 exit.  I took this picture while documenting the I-459 grooved pavement experience.

ALDOT has now said the sign will cost up to $200,000 to replace and the sign should be replaced within a year.  A temporary dynamic message sign will soon be placed at the same spot.  But I wonder if it will be useful?  Many people are already bashing ALDOT over the message signs because they don’t provide useful information.  Several commenters off of are saying ALDOT should get those freeway lights working again and these message signs are a waste of money.  One commenter actually thanked the dump truck driver for taking this sign down.

Whenever I go to Birmingham, I pass through one of these signs along I-20 in Leeds.  Most of the time the sign says “buckle up” or “stay safe through work zones.”  Sometimes the signs are actually off and not working!  And it hurts when you can’t spell the words correctly on the signs.  Remember this?

I wish ALDOT would come out with a better way to monitor traffic.  Every state around Alabama has a website where you can monitor cameras, monitor speeds, and even read the message signs right from your couch!  Yes, even Mississippi has this technology!

Another thing ALDOT needs to do is to get active with social media.  Every state DOT around Alabama has active Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Some DOT’s even have active YouTube, and Pinterest accounts.  These social media accounts send out traffic information, alerts, and other interesting stuff.  Believe me, with all the wrecks on Alabama interstates, this is badly needed!  When people have to rely on TV stations, James Spann, and Mike Smith from for traffic information, that’s not good!  The map from ALDOT just gives you traffic speeds and some cameras, that is, if they are working.

I would say there actually needs to be more message signs placed along the interstates.  Alabama’s interstates are already traffic clogged and dangerous, especially Interstate 65.  If ALDOT had a social media presence, they could send out traffic alerts with hashtags so people will not get caught up in blocked interstates and wrecks.  But I don’t expect that to happen anytime soon.  Remember, this is ALDOT.  They actually grooved a large stretch of I-459 and during the Alabama Phoenix Festival, this decision made many people unhappy including Hollywood celebrities.  

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