Roadscapes: The Stupid 22nd Street North New Traffic Pattern From ALDOT


I’m just going to file this under the stupidity category.  On May 31st, ALDOT closed down the 17th Street North exit along I-20 East / I-59 North in downtown Birmingham.  The ramp is now closed so it can be torn down and the new ramps built in the whole I-20/59 Bridge project.  Okay, we all knew this was coming, but what ALDOT did next is one of the craziest things I have seen from any DOT in this country.

They are now forcing all traffic on I-20/59 to exit at the 22nd Street North exit to get into downtown Birmingham.  If you are coming down 22nd Street North from the BJCC, you are no longer able to go under the Interstate and must turn either left or right at 9th Avenue North.

From ABC 33/40.

That’s not even the crazy part, the stupid part comes after you exit the Interstate onto the street.  From the Interstate to the 8th Avenue North, or the Reverend Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd., you are forced to stay in either side of two lanes with barriers going down the middle of the street.

From Google Maps

From ABC 33/40.

You can imagine what this has caused.  Traffic getting off going South or West must go either straight or left.  Going North or East, traffic must go either straight or right at Reverend Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd.  Does ALDOT really think traffic will follow the new traffic pattern and not see cars crossing over to turn right over an lane going straight or a car turning left crossing over to turn left over an lane going straight?  ABC 33/40 reporter Lauren Walsh caught multiple cars in a very short time crossing over that barrier and turning left or right and crossing lanes where cars can go straight.

And while Lauren Walsh was doing a live shot on the ABC 33/40 News, in only 15 seconds you saw two cars turning right and crossing an lane where cars going straight are doing so. (photos below from ABC 33/40)

 

So, does ALDOT love drivers getting into accidents or something.  This is one of the worst designs I have ever seen.  ALDOT did this because they did not want traffic backing up onto the Interstate.  But when I watched the liveshots today on ABC 33/40, traffic did not back up that much and I wonder why the traffic light at the bottom of the ramp was even turned off?

Okay, if you insist in keeping this horrible design that is going to get people injured and in wrecks, you could set up the traffic lights just like the end of Interstate 359 in Tuscaloosa.  Where the three lanes from the highway get a green light to make any turns, then the on ramp gets the green light to make any turns.

From Google Maps.

At the end of the day, this horrible and stupid design along 22nd Street North in Birmingham is not going to work, even if you put up all the signs and lane markings in the world to tell drivers which directions they can go.  Drivers are going to take the shortest and fastest route they can to get to their destination.  They are NOT going to loop around several city blocks and waste time because ALDOT designed something stupid.  You will continue to see cars cutting across lanes to turn left and right where cars can go straight, and accidents are going to happen!  Get this fixed, and now!

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The Interstate 85 Atlanta Bridge Collapse Traffic Apocalypse


Today, a major event happened in Atlanta Metro that is going to cause traffic chaos for the next few months.  A section of the Interstate 85 elevated bridge between the Interstate 75 split to the Georgia 400 split collapsed.  The northbound bridge now has a major gap in it.  The southbound bridge is still all intact but we don’t know if the fire has compromised a section of the bridge as well.

Here are some social media reactions to the collapse.

So, what could have caused this fire that has caused a major interstate bridge to collapse?  All you have to do is look at Google Maps!  Apparently, under the bridge there are fiber optic cables that were being stored.  It looks like it could be cable for traffic management systems because no DOT’s anywhere in the country would allow stuff like this to be stored under a major infrastructure corridor.

A viewer sent in a photo to WSB-TV apparently showing the fire starting.

Of course, there will be investigations about how this fire started.  But the Georgia DOT needs to explain why a ton of cables like this were allowed to be stored under a major bridge.  Were these cables for the DOT that they were going to use, or was a private company storing these here for their use?  Either way, this was very stupid!  So, we are now talking about up to six months of major traffic gridlock in the Atlanta Metro, up to six months!

Two major traffic corridors to get into downtown Atlanta from the very crowded northern suburbs are now cut-off.  You can’t take I-85 north of downtown or Georgia 400 into downtown Atlanta.  So, the only two alternatives to get into downtown Atlanta now involves getting onto the Interstate 285 loop.  You can either take the loop south to get to I-20, or you can take the loop west to I-75.  I-285, especially between I-85 and I-75 on the northside of Atlanta is already a jam packed traffic cluster fest every day.  So, let’s add even more traffic to this, yeah its not good!

Now, there is a parallel freeway next I-85 called Georgia 13 or the Buford Spring Connector.  There are ramps on either side of the bridge collapse that could provide a local temporary detour to I-85.

But let’s be honest, those ramps are only one lane and Georgia 13 is only two lanes.  So, it’s like draining a gallon of water with a tiny straw.  I am glad this option is here, but this detour will not be the best solution for the up to 250,000 cars who travel through this section every day.  I-285 or better yet using mass transit will be the best option.

So, with a major traffic corridor shutdown for months.  I want to talk about two things in the Atlanta Metro where I will say, I told you so!  First off, the Atlanta Braves will soon be playing their games in their brand new Suntrust Park.  The park is in one of the worst traffic chokepoints in the entire southeastern USA, the I-75 / I-285 interchange in NW Atlanta.  I wrote a post explaining why I never liked the new Atlanta Braves stadium location, and now I can smile and nod my head.  Now, with even more traffic that will have to go this way to get to work, go home, or run errands, good luck trying to get to the ballpark!  Why was no major mass transit options planned when this park was in the planning stages?

As for mass transit, Atlanta has a subpar mass transit system.  Sure, there is MARTA but it mostly runs inside the I-285 loop except for a portion of the northern route.  With a lack of commuter rail and major bus options in the Atlanta suburbs, people are now going to be bitten in the rear end for not planning mass transit properly!  What will the political fallout be over this bridge collapse and the lack of good mass transit options like light rail or commuter rail?  One thing is for sure, Atlanta needs more mass transit options, and the people living in the suburbs can get over the poorer people using it and coming to the suburbs!

Well, one can wish that we can just fly over this bridge gap like these just some good ole’ boys.

Roadscapes Wednesday: Happy Place Video


Roadscapes Geek Alabama

On this Roadscapes Wednesday, let’s do something a little different!  The Vimeo channel   created a short film called Happy Place.  And for those who will be buying toys for their kids this Christmas season, this is something cool you need to watch.  Heck, if you are not buying any toys, still watch this!

The film is about a toy truck imprisoned inside its packaging and stuck on a toy shop shelf, a lonely radio-controlled toy truck uses its imagination to go on an adventure and find its happy place.  The toy shop was filmed in England while the desert scenes were shot in Nevada.  And the filmmakers used a shot in-camera technique and a forced perspective scenes for the toys in the desert.

Yep, even toys can have an imagination, enjoy!

Roadscapes Wednesday: The 30 Dumbest Road Signs


Roadscapes Geek Alabama

Yeah, I think we all have seen a dumb road sign here and there.  And the YouTube channel Top Media has compiled a countdown highlighting the 30 dumbest road signs you might find on the side of the road.  From confusing to outright dangerous, enjoy!

Roadscapes Wednesday: Say So Long To US 431 On Quintard Avenue


Roadscapes Geek Alabama

For about hundred years now, US 431 has been routed down Quintard Avenue in Anniston.  It is paired with AL-21 and it’s one of the busiest roads in East Alabama.  In fact, I even made an Roadscapes video highlighting Quintard Ave.  But very soon, my video will be outdated!  Because US 431 is about to leave Quintard Avenue forever.

That’s right, when the Anniston Eastern Bypass fully opens, US 431 will be the official routing.  The original plan from ALDOT was to have US 431 continue onto Quintard Avenue, and the new bypass be named AL-901.  As seen from the blueprint below of the new intersection in Saks.

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But, things have changed!  When the bypass fully opens, US 431 will go onto the bypass.  And instead of taking US 78 in Oxford, US 431 will go onto Interstate 20 between exits 188 and 191.  How do I know this?  Because ALDOT put up BGS signs at the exit 188 interchange in Oxford.

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For now, ALDOT has used black cloth to cover up the US 431 shields, since the bypass is not fully open yet.  But, the cloth was not put on very good since it’s temporary.  Thanks to some wind blowing the cloths open.  You can tell what is being covered up is US 431.

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So, when the bypass fully opens, all of the current US 431 signs along Quintard Ave. and US 78 will be removed.  But don’t worry, Quintard Ave. will still be a state highway as AL-21 will still be traveling down the busy road.  One has to wonder, with US 431 moving, how much of the traffic levels will drop off along Quintard Ave?