Roadscapes Stuff

Roadscapes Wednesday: Because Of Toyota-Mazda, ALDOT Must Widen I-565 Now

Today was a big day in Alabama.  Huntsville landed that new Toyota-Mazda plant that will start with 4,000 jobs when it opens.  When everything is up and running, around 15,000 jobs will be created from this one project alone.  This project is already on top of the thousands and thousands of jobs already announced in the past few years.  In other words, Huntsville is booming like crazy!

But with that boom, comes a lot more traffic!  Memorial Parkway is slowly being upgraded to a freeway with service roads on both sides.  But, residential growth will start spreading to the west because of new industrial projects.  And that means the road network must be upgraded to handle the growth!  First off, let’s talk about Interstate 565.  From exit 9 until the I-65 interchange, it’s only two lanes on both directions.  It is already causing traffic headaches especially during the rush hours.  Now with that Toyota-Mazda plant coming to this area, it’s about to get a whole lot worse!

From Google Maps

I know ALDOT has plans to 6-lane I-565 from exit 9 to I-65.  But, those plans needs to be put into action now!  When that plant opens around 2020, and with 4,000 jobs and up created and going, it will cause major traffic jams!  Something needs to be done and soon to widen I-565.

Let’s talk about US 72 now.  The 4-lane road from Athens to Huntsville is becoming increasingly less rural and filled with more residential, retail, and that means more traffic signals and heavy traffic.  Knowing ALDOT, they will not much of anything to deal with the increasing traffic and just put up more traffic lights.  I wish ALDOT would build ways to control turning traffic and the traffic jams.  Michigan lefts or interchanges anyone?

From Google Maps

And on either side of the Memorial Parkway freeway, US 231 and US 431 are exactly like US 72, 4-lane roads becoming more traffic jammed with more traffic lights being installed.

From Google Maps

For an area landing all of these good paying jobs, they suck horribly on road management.  Most of it because our glorious leaders in Montgomery have come up with nothing to deal with infrastructure and funding in Alabama.  Yes, the gas tax or something else might have to up a little bit, because if nothing is done to build new road capacity, the growth in Huntsville will grind to an halt!

It’s time to widen current roads, eliminate current traffic light intersections with interchanges or other creative ideas, and yes maybe even control some growth.  I am sure everyone in the Huntsville region would love to continue to see the growth they are seeing now.

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