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The Public Works Department provided relief for motorists with the construction of a right-turn lane connecting Old Moulton Road to the Beltline.
Daily photo by John Godbey
The Public Works Department provided relief for motorists with the construction of a right-turn lane connecting Old Moulton Road to the Beltline.

Right-turn lane benefits Old Moulton Road traffic

By Catherine Godbey
cgodbey@decaturdaily.com 340-2441

While the population expansion on Old Moulton Road Southwest benefits Decatur economically, motorists on the two-lane road suffer traffic delays, specifically at Beltline Road.

As one of several planned improvements, the Public Works Department provided relief for aggravated motorists with the construction of a right-turn lane connecting Old Moulton Road to the Beltline.

Before the lane's construction, eastbound traffic navigated one lane designated for motorists crossing the Beltline as well as those turning left and right. The 300-foot, right-turn lane extends back to Courtyard Circle and allows motorists turning right to bypass the commuters governed by the traffic lights.

"Southwest Decatur is a developing area with increasing growth and adding this turn lane has helped with our immediate concern of traffic volume," said Mark Petersohn, engineering and public works director.

For motorists traveling Old Moulton Road, the lane is resulting in a speedier commute.

"There were times when I've had to sit through several light changes," said Mark Phillips, who drives the route daily. "It's made traffic flow infinitely better."

The project, funded with city finances, complements the Alabama Department of Transportation-funded project to widen the Beltline.

Further advancements at the intersection are expected in the spring. Completing the turn lane represented only the first construction, Petersohn said.

The next stage, focused on increasing the efficiency of the intersection, includes adding left-turn lanes east and west of the Beltline.

Lying on the north side of Old Moulton Road, the additional turn lanes will cover 300 feet and be built on city-owned property, avoiding the cost of purchasing right of way.

While the projected lanes will cater to traffic solely turning left, the existing lanes will serve as a dual lane, handling traffic bisecting the Beltline as well as turning left.

"Adding the second turn lanes allows us to cycle traffic through the intersection better," Petersohn said. "We expect twice the number of cars going through the intersection."

Petersohn highlighted the importance of Old Moulton Road, which represents a prime spot for traffic volume.

"Old Moulton Road connects with Shady Grove, Brookline and Modaus. ... It provides these residents with easy access to the plants on Alabama 20 and downtown Decatur," Petersohn said.

As the Beltline project progresses, so will improvements to the access roads. In addition to Old Moulton Road, the department plans to revamp Danville Road and Sandlin Road.

With the Beltline widening project easing traffic on the major thoroughfare, the city is intent on providing the same relief on the connecting streets, Petersohn said.

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