News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2007

Alabama State Trooper Josh Taylor uses survey equipment to help reconstruct the scene of a fatal accident at McEntire Lane and Gordon Terry Parkway.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
Alabama State Trooper Josh Taylor uses survey equipment to help reconstruct the scene of a fatal accident at McEntire Lane and Gordon Terry Parkway.

Dangerous crossing getting light?
DOT recommends signal
for Alabama 24 intersection

By Seth Burkett 340-2355

Another look at an intersection regarded as dangerous by many area residents led Alabama Department of Transportation engineers to recommend a traffic light at Gordon Terry Parkway and McEntire Lane.

DOT Division 1 Engineer Johnny Harris said engineers completed a signal justification study about two weeks ago.

The recommendation was sent to Montgomery last week for funding approval, which usually takes about two weeks to obtain, Harris said.

Many complain that the combination of fast traffic from the east and west on Gordon Terry Parkway and drivers crossing four lanes to head north and south along McEntire Lane creates a major hazard. Often, multiple cars line up in the median waiting to cross the busy highway.

Harris said DOT considered several factors, including traffic volume and accident history.

Previous studies found the intersection did not warrant a light, Harris said, but changing traffic volumes or patterns due to economic development in the area may have affected the outcome of the latest study.

If approved, funding agreements must also be executed between DOT and local officials before establishing the project's budget and beginning installation, Harris said.

"We don't really have a definite timeline, it depends on the response times from the different entities in the different parts of the operation," he said.

Harris gave a ballpark cost of $60,000 to $80,000.

"It's my understanding that we have spoken with Morgan County and they have agreed to help with the funding," Harris said.

The intersection is outside Decatur's city limits, in County Commissioner Jeff Clark's District 1.

"I'm glad the state has made the decision to put the light up, and we will work with the state to seek funding," Clark said. "We will do whatever is necessary to see that a light is put up there, and I fully anticipate the state doing their part."

For Ann D'Olive of Trinity, a light would end years of worrying over the safety of drivers, but she remains leery of the news. More than two years ago, D'Olive submitted a petition with nearly 2,000 signatures asking DOT for a traffic signal.

"When I turned that petition in, I was told that it could take over two years for something to get done," D'Olive said. "When I see it, I will be ecstatic, but until that time happens, I'm not going to get my hopes up. I've just been told that they're not going to do it so many times that it's hard to believe."

"It shouldn't have to come to someone dying for something to get done," she said, referring to the May 9 crash that killed motorcyclist Travis Everett, 22, of Leighton, and critically injured his passenger, Rebecca Byers, 23, of Leighton. Byers is now in serious condition in Huntsville Hospital's Surgical Intensive Care Unit.

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