MADISON, Ala. - President of Madison Hospital says a traffic light is needed in front of their hospital for safety reasons, as Highway 72 is expanded into 6-lanes. But ALDOT says 'not so fast'. As of now, they have no plans to add an additional light.
“The new Walmart opened, there's a traffic light there. The new Kroger. They have a traffic light," said Mary Lynne Wright, President of Madison Hospital.
It's been an ongoing battle for the hospital to try to get a traffic light. Wright says their traffic flow has more than doubled in 4 years.
She says the light, at one point was approved. But the city asked to take it-- to give to Target. She claims they were promised they would still be getting one. "We just feel strongly about a hospital that's grown as fast as we have really needs a traffic light," said Wright.
And those feelings just keep growing now that Hwy 72 is growing from 4 lanes to 6." They're actually going to make three lanes going east and west, and instead of us getting a traffic light, now if you want to go west you would have to turn right out of our campus, cross three lanes of traffic, do a U-turn to turn west," Wright says.
In other words: No light. Not only is it inconvenient to make the switch, Wright says she believes it's dangerous. "You know our real concern for that is when you come to a hospital, you have a lot on your mind. You're not always necessarily thinking about your driving skills," said Wright.
Now there is another entrance, but "The back entrance of this hospital was never intended for public through-put. The back entrance is for employees, delivery trucks and ambulances. We would have designed the hospital differently if we were going to do that," said Wright.
The back entrance can be accessed via Balch road, with does have a red light, and is only about 1,000 feet from the main entrance. ALDOT says having two red lights that close together on an already congested road way could potentially increase accidents, and congestion: two things they're trying to improve with this project.
ALDOT says the plans remain in design and are undergoing revisions. They will continue to look at this entrance to see if there are other ways to improve it.