We visited the stretch of Highway 72 East west of Ryland Pike just last week. The main problem alongside the east bound lane, the shoulder. It’s composed of what appears to be crumbled asphalt. Even worse, the shoulder is actually a fairly steep bank, and it’s several inches lower than the highway’s edge. It needs help. “Quickly, before somebody is killed,” says Barbara Thomas.
We visited the road in the first place because of Barbara’s call. She called me again to say there had been multiple accidents on the stretch of road we’d examined. On our second visit, we could see plenty of new tire tracks in the soft shoulder material. We ran into one driver who says he’d made some of them. “It’s pretty rough, let me tell you. if you don’t have any control at all, if you didn’t know how to drive very well, you could lose it and destroy a lot of stuff,” says Don Marks.
Don’s concern was mostly about drivers travelling west, and turning across the Highway 72 median to get to Old Gurley Pike. I made the turn myself, and you rally can’t see where to turn. I ended up missing the road, and going off the shoulder. Thank goodness I was driving an SUV. “There’s no marking or anything else to tell you where the drop off is, and it’s extremely dangerous,” says Don Marks.
The other turning problem comes for drivers travelling east. Making the hard right turn, you practically have to stop. This as drivers behind you, who are coming over a hill, are going 60-miles an hour or faster. “You don’t know if somebody is going to hit you in the rear or not,” says Don.
When you add the soft shoulder to the problems turning off the highway, you have a tough situation. A good reason for us to re-double our efforts at taking action and getting the State of Alabama to do something for this bad stretch of road. It really is dangerous.