Huntsville's new North Memorial Parkway overpasses are a boon to drivers. They allow commuters to miss congested intersections, and make the trip down the city's main north-south route a lot more quickly. Unfortunately, though, the overpasses have added a new hazard to city streets.
The problem happens on the north end of the new stretch of the Parkway at the first intersection without an overpass. Drivers on the north bound access road who want to turn left on to Mastin Lake Road, have to merge across two lanes of moving Parkway traffic.
"They're not really aware, or they don't have enough time to realize that cars are going north on the Parkway at 60-plus miles an hour," said Joe Jensen. Jensen has seen two wrecks in the area, caused he said, by the way drivers are trying to cross the Parkway in front of other vehicles.
To be fair, the north bound merge lane for the access road traffic hasn't been opened yet, but it appears to shift vehicles on to the main lanes just a few feet from where drivers are merging now. There will still be the problem of crossing two lanes of the Parkway to get to the Mastin Lake Road turn lanes.
WHNT News 19 are taking action and discussing this problem with Alabama DOT engineers. While we're doing that, we'll also tell them about a median crossing just to the south of the Mastin Lake intersection. It is clearly marked that U-turns are not allowed. Despite that, drivers are constantly making U-turns.
The new overpasses are a welcome addition to the Huntsville road map, but there appear to be some finishing touches that need work.