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Roadscapes Wednesday: The Weird Alexander City Intersection


This week, I wanted to talk about a very unique intersection you will not find anywhere else.  In Alexander City Alabama, there is a traffic light intersection that features two roads, with a train track in the middle.  Both of these roads allows two-way traffic.  The road crossing these two roads and the railroad track is a simple two-way street.  Yes, it’s complicated, take a look at this Google Maps picture below to see for yourself!

The intersection are for the streets of Broad St, Lee St, Washington St, North Central Ave, and South Central Ave.  The intersection also carries AL-63.  The train track in the middle is for the Norfolk Southern line.  And the intersection is just too weird.  If you are on Washington St, Lee St, or Broad St, and if you want to make a turn onto Central Ave. that requires you to cross the train tracks, you have to wait at a protected turn signal.

Some people do not get the concept of this intersection.  And they will turn right or left on red and stop on the middle of the train tracks until they get a green light.  There are no sensors around the train tracks to detect a car sitting there.  And the only way the light will go green for cars stopped on the train tracks is if a car on Central Ave. pulls up to trigger the sensor.  I am surprised no one has been killed at this intersection yet because someone was stopped on the train tracks waiting for the light to change.

Sadly, I don’t think anything can be done at this intersection.  You could eliminate either Lee St. or Washington St. and move the train track over.  But that is going to cost a lot of money.  When the planners of the streets planned the original grid, I guess they were not thinking about how this intersection would cause problems.  Yes, there are some signs saying Do Not Block Intersection, but some drivers still don’t know what to do at this intersection.  Maybe one day something will be done to change the configuration of this intersection.

So there, another weird road feature in the state of Alabama.  If this same intersection was in another state, you would not see something like this!

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