Roadscapes: The Deadly ALDOT Mentality Over The US 431 Anniston Eastern Bypass


So it happened again, in only a 1 1/2 year period since the Anniston Eastern Bypass fully opened in December 2015 and US 431 was placed onto the road.  Another 18 wheeler did not stop and ran through a red light, the truck struck several cars and ended up in the nearby woods.  Sadly, one person died at this wreck.

This has not been the only wreck at this intersection of the Anniston Eastern Bypass at Coleman Road and Choccolocco Road.  There have been multiple wrecks usually involving an 18-wheeler who does or can not stop, runs through the red light, and strikes other cars.  This has been an HUGE problem since the bypass fully opened.  And my question is this?  Why did ALDOT think a road like this where fully loaded 18-wheelers going down a large mountain hill and might have to stop at the bottom was a brilliant idea?

Seriously!  If we were in another state like Georgia, the intersection at the bottom of the hill would have been a freeway interchange so traffic on the US 431 bypass would not have to stop.  This would eliminate the possibility that an 18-wheeler could not stop because it lost its brakes.  But we are stuck with this and it’s hurting and killing people.  Sure, ALDOT thought adding more traffic lights and adding 2 red lights at the top with yellow reflective tape for traffic going down the mountain was going to help?  It’s not!

But the troubles don’t stop there.  There is also an intersection in the middle of going down the mountain called Henry Road.  Right off Henry Road there is The Donoho School.  And every morning and afternoon while school is in session, you see long lines of cars wanting to turn left onto Henry Road off the bypass, while cars are coming at them doing 65 mph +!  On both sides, ALDOT did put up yellow flashers warning drivers of the intersection, but it’s clearly not enough!

Some drivers who want to turn left onto the bypass from Henry Road have a really fun time doing so.  Like this truck who stopped in the middle of the lanes going downhill to yield, not smart.

And you can say, could drivers take a nearby parallel street and connect to Henry Road?  Well, in a crazy move there is a no left turn sign to turn left onto Henry Road.  Why is this here?

Some have said putting a traffic light here would solve the problems, but sadly it will not.  You see, if a fully loaded truck going down the mountain goes past the runaway truck ramp and sees a red light, and loses it brakes, well you know what will happen next.  Having a traffic light here is NOT going to work!

The only solution is to make the Henry Road intersection a freeway interchange, but ALDOT is cheap as we all know too well.  So enjoy the long lines and long waits to get onto and off the bypass.  Now let’s focus on that Coleman Road / Choccolocco Road intersection.  ALDOT did add more lights, but it’s not working.  Going down the mountain, there is only a traffic light sign with signal ahead road markings.

So, why there can not be a sign with flashers telling drivers and truckers that the light at the bottom of the hill is going to turn or be red?  They do this on US 431 in Huntsville, why not here too?

From Google Maps.

From Google Maps.

Another thing I see is ALDOT could make the yellow light longer and the all red, where all four sides are red, longer.  If all four sides were all red for a longer amount of time, it might prevent some of these wrecks!  ALDOT could also install technology that is used on US 280 in Shelby County that detects trucks coming down the hills there.  Why is this not used here?

But, nothing much can change until we deal with the biggest problem, everyone going WAY too fast going down the mountain.  The speed limit drops from 65 mph to 50 mph while going down the mountain.  Yes, while going down the mountain.  Why is this not done at the very top?

Yes, there is a radar sign that tells the speed drivers are going.

And as you can see in this short video clip, EVERY driver is going way over the speed limit.

So, why is there not a speed radar sign over each lane on an overhead pole?  Or better yet, flashers to tell drivers you are going too fast?  They do this on some roads in Alabama, it’s needed here too!

From Google Maps.

And why is there not a LOWER speed limit for trucks going down the mountain?  On US 431 in Guntersville, there is a lower speed limit for trucks going down Sand Mountain.

From Google Maps.

The same for trucks going down Monteagle Mountain on Interstate 24 in Tennessee.  This stretch of road has the same downhill grade as the US 431 mountain.

From Google Maps.

There must be a LOWER speed limit for trucks and 18-wheelers going down this mountain, I can’t believe ALDOT did not do this before the road fully opened!  It takes a MUCH longer time for a 18-wheeler to stop versus a car.  It takes a fully loaded 18-wheeler even longer to fully stop, someone was not thinking when designing this road about trucks going down the mountain who might not be able to stop because their brakes were lost?

To sum things up, ALDOT needs to install better signage and paint markings, flashers with technology to tell drivers when the traffic light will turn red, and lower speed limits for trucks going down the mountain.

The reason why many of us roadgeeks do not like ALDOT is because they tend to not listen to us for smart ideas or sometimes just completely ignore us.  Another reason is because ALDOT comes up with some really dumb road designs and does not maintain or force towns to maintain their traffic lights for example when a sensor is malfunctioning.

I guess ALDOT really does not care about this stretch of US 431, which is quickly becoming the most dangerous stretch of highway in all of Alabama.  So, how many more people will be killed or injured before something is done here?  That is the motto so many of us uses when we talk about ALDOT.

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Roadscapes Wednesday: Two New Road Drawings And A Traffic Light Video


Roadscapes Geek Alabama

This week on Roadscapes Wednesday, I am featuring two brand new road drawings!  The first road drawing is a new year’s special.  Imagine you are on a highway and are faced with two decisions.  One way takes you onto a bridge towards heaven, the other way takes you into a tunnel towards hell.  Which way would you take?  That is my new year’s resolution road drawing!

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The second road drawing is a tight interchange!  I mean, with development close to the highway on both sides leading up to a major airport, I had to get creative making this freeway interchange, I did a good job!

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And now here is another road video!  This is 10 minutes of the Coleman Road and Greenbrier Road traffic light!  As you can see, this was taken during rush hour and while it was getting dark.  Enjoy!

Trainscapes: September 2014 Coleman Road Train Video


Geek Alabama Trainscapes

On this Trainscapes post, I am featuring a new video from the Coleman Road railroad crossing.  This video features a Amtrak train zipping on by after stopping to pick up passengers at the Anniston train station.  The video is only 1:15 long, it’s that quick, enjoy!

Roadscapes Wednesday: More Issues Along Greenbrier Dear Road


Roadscapes Geek Alabama

It’s time for Roadscapes Wednesday on Thursday!  And on this edition, I am addressing a problem, where you can barely see the painted lines on a major road.  If this was some side street, I would ignore it, but this is a 5-lane busy street!  And people from my apartment complex to the businesses along this road are getting tired of not seeing the road lines that should be visible on the road.  The road I am talking about is Greenbrier Dear Rd, and the road looks like this today.

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As you can see, just about all of the yellow and white lines on the road are fully faded away.  And Greenbrier Dear Road is a major road in the Anniston/Oxford metro that carries a lot of traffic.  People coming to my apartment complex now has trouble finding the center lane, because the yellow lines are almost gone!  And the white lines to determine the passing lanes are just about gone as well!  This is a very dangerous situation.

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On close up inspection, you can see that the lines in some places are completely gone!  And most reflectors that are supposed to be on the road are gone too.  This part of Greenbrier Dear Road is not scheduled to be repaved anytime soon.  Only the part of Greenbrier going over the mountain is about the repaved. Last Summer, the city came out and repainted all the lines on the road, and in one year the lines have completely faded away.

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And this is not only one part of Greenbrier Dear Road, it’s the entire road.  And Greenbrier is not only having issues with the road paint lines.  The traffic lights are also malfunctioning.  At times, the sensors at the Coleman Road light are malfunctioning.  I took video of the Greenbrier Dear Road / Coleman Road intersection today showcasing the malfunctioning sensor.

And let’s talk about the Greenbrier Dear Road / Quintard Ave. light, where the sensors have beeb malfunctioning for nearly two years now!  And during the night, some cars are running the red lights.

Come on Anniston, you are better than this.  I mean the Anniston/Oxford metro has the worst wage drop, highest unemployment spike of any metro area, and is overall the worst performing metro area, in America!  Stuff like this is not going to attract people and businesses to this area.  So if you want to change the metro area’s downfall, how about fixing your infrastructure?  Fixing Greenbrier Dear Road is a good start!

The Evening Post: Coleman Road / Train Striking Car


Geek Alabama Evening Post

Over the weekend, a car was struck by a train at the Coleman Road crossing in Oxford/Anniston.  There were three people in the car, the mother and one of the kids were killed.  And the oldest child (driver) is still in the hospital.  The Oxford Police has said that the lights and gates are working properly at this crossing, and I can confirm that!  Below I am embedding some of the videos I have done at this crossing.  Some have said the crossing gates at this crossing comes down too slow or too late, but the crossing gates comes down with plenty of time before the train comes through this crossing.

Judging from what I have heard, this sounds like a case of someone driving around the down gates and getting hit by the train.  It takes a long train over a mile to stop, and you can be a few minutes late and let that train go by.  Every year, people get killed at railroad crossings because they tried to beat the train, and it’s lives lost just to try to save a few minutes.  Watch these videos below to learn more about railroad crossing safety.  And visit the Operation Lifesaver site at: http://oli.org/

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