Fighting for You: Woman Wonders Why All Lights Along New Overpass Remain Off After Construction Is Complete

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Money seems to be a sticking point with drivers and their ability to see where they are going on a new overpass. The state opened the Research Park Boulevard Overpass last week. At least one driver noticed someone forgot to turn on the lights.

The viewer emailed WHNT NEWS 19 to ask, "Why must I drive along the overpass in the dark?" WHNT NEWS 19 found out the light poles are in place, bulbs are attached, wiring works, but one bothered to turn on the lights.

The viewer wrote in an email, her route home from work on the Research Park Boulevard overpass is extremely dark and very unsafe. The station's fight to find out why was easy.

"I was not aware they were driving in the dark until you notified us, said Richard Grace.

Grace is Madison County's Chief Engineer. Grace told WHNT NEWS 19 an unsigned agreement between the Madison County and the Alabama Department of Transportation is keeping drivers in the dark. The Madison County Commission talked about the agreement to pay maintenance and energy costs for the lights at a recent meeting. The commission postponed a vote.

This isn't solely a Madison County problem. Grace says ALDOT shares some of the responsibility.

"They did not realize a portion of the lights were in the county. Since day one, they thought all the lights were in the city of Huntsville," added Grace.

Grace says ALDOT sent the agreement to the county near the end of the overpass' construction. So, when will someone in Madison County flip the switch?

"I can't answer that, but can tell you the commission will address agreement at their next meeting," added Grace.

All Madison County Commissioners are scheduled to talk about the agreement to turn on the lights January 7, 2013.

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