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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Pictures And Video From The Glencoe First Baptist Church Christmas Light Show 2016


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For years now, the First Baptist Church of Glencoe puts on a massive Christmas light show in front of their church.  It takes a team of approximately 20 people, starting in October to construct the display, however planning began in August. They put in all of their time and resources because they love to see everyone come out and enjoy the lights. They hope it serves as a reminder to them of the true meaning of Christmas.

Until December 31st and from 5-10 pm, come and enjoy a great light show with the radio in your car tuned to 90.5 FM.  You can find the First Baptist Church of Glencoe on US 431 in Glencoe at the traffic light intersection of College St.  Learn more about the FBC of Glencoe Christmas Light Show at:  https://www.facebook.com/glencoelights

Here is a video and pictures I shot from the light show, enjoy!

Come And Enjoy The Glencoe First Baptist Church Christmas Light Show 2015


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In the East Alabama region, one church has transformed their outside into one of the biggest Christmas light shows in the region!  And for 2015, Glencoe First Baptist Church is back for another year of an awesome light show!  And the Christmas light show is entirely free!  Here is their show from 2014 from the YouTube channel Sloss Gaming.

The FBC Glencoe’s 6th Annual Christmas Light Show will kick off Sunday November 29, 2015.  To kick off the light show, the church will hold the Snowflake Festival from 4:30 to 5:45 pm on Sunday November 29th. The festival will have free food, games, a photo booth, and much more. Then, the light show kicks off at 6 pm.  And the best part is the light show is free, just drive up, tune your radio to 90.5 FM, also listed on the signs, and enjoy!

The lights will run from November 29 – December 31st from 5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday and 5:00 – Midnight on Friday and Saturday Nights.  On December 5,6,12,13,19,20 they will have a free drive-thru hot chocolate stand from 6:15 – 8:15 pm.  Simply drive under their awning and they will hand everyone in your car a free cup of hot chocolate.  Hot chocolate and viewing a great light show, that should be awesome!

Every year they strive to make the show better and over the past six years, it has increased in technical complexity. They started out with incandescent minilights, like you would find on any old Christmas tree.  However, four years ago they bought their first smart set of LED lights and have began to convert the show over to smart LEDs also known as pixels.

The “smart” LEDs allow them to control each individual bulb and change it to any color or brightness. In fact this year they will have over 20,000 of the smart pixels as well as hundreds of thousands of traditional Christmas lights.  It takes a team of approximately 20 people, starting in October to construct the display, however planning began in August.  They put in all of their time and resources because they love to see everyone come out and enjoy the lights.  They hope it serves as a reminder to them of the true meaning of Christmas.

You can find the First Baptist Church of Glencoe on US 431 in Glencoe at the traffic light intersection of College St.  Learn more about the FBC of Glencoe Christmas Light Show at:  https://www.facebook.com/glencoelights

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?

Roadscapes Wednesday: Contraflow On US 431/ Anniston Eastern Bypass


Roadscapes Geek Alabama

This week on Roadscapes, I am featuring photos from a contraflow setup on US 431 in the Anniston area.  This area is under construction for a tie in of the Anniston Eastern Bypass.  Who knows when the construction will be complete, for now enjoy all the traffic going to one side of the 4-lane with a concrete wall separating traffic!

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