News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, MARCH 25, 2007


Lowered speeds on dangerous intersection is welcome step

Finally, it should be safe to travel through Birmingham’s Malfunction Junction, where interstate highways intersect. Gov. Bob Riley on Thursday took long-needed action to slow traffic approaching and leaving the junction by reducing the speed limit to 50 mph. The new limit goes into effect this week.

The governor took the action after tractor-trailer rigs lost 13 steel coils over a 12-month period.

The reduced speed area covers Interstate 65 from Finley Boulevard to University Boulevard. The 50-mph area for I-59/20 is between mile marker 127 near Tallapoossa Street, and the Elton B. Stephens Expressway. Interstate 20 east is restricted for one mile from its split with I-59.

Speed limits are worthless if nobody enforces them so the governor assigned extra state troopers to patrol the area. The state also will install temporary message boards to inform motorists of the reduced speed limit.

Speed is the most often cause of vehicle accidents. Birmingham police could have enforced the existing 60-mph limit, but most vehicles routinely sped through the area. Thus, the governor decided the area needs an even lower speed for greater safety, probably hoping to get speeds at least back to 60 mph. Most drivers like to fudge.

Apparently the governor is tired of Birmingham not enforcing the 60-mph limit. Many people are.

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