Changes coming to dangerous Dug Hill and Highway 72 East intersection

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - Changes to a dangerous intersection in Madison County are finally coming. The Alabama Department of Transportation will create something called an R-CUT at the Dug Hill Road intersection at Highway 72 East.

After two recent fatal wrecks at Dug Hill Road and Highway 72 east, community members urged officials to make a change to the intersection.

"Obviously there's an issue and we wanted to try to address that as soon as possible," says Seth Burkett with the Alabama Department of Transportation.

After a safety study, the Alabama Department of Transportation decided to implement of an alternative intersection design known as a restricted crossing U-turn (RCUT) intersection and construction of turn lanes to facilitate U-turn and left-in movements.

An RCUT intersection restricts crossing and left turn movements from the side street. In lieu of crossing or turning left, motorists make a right turn followed at a safe distance by a U-turn.

Burkett says he realizes people were petitioning for a signal, but they believe that would actually cause more damage.

"We actually think a signal would be likely to create wrecks of a different kind that would be equally severe," says Burkett.

ALDOT's concerns with a signal are rear-end wrecks and drivers unintentionally running red lights, saying signals are not what creates a safe situation.

"Motorists are the ones that have the failure to yield, speeding, all of that is in their hands," says Burkett.

They say while this is not common in Alabama, other states have proved that r-cut intersections are effective.

"They've been effective at reducing both injury and fatal collisions," says Burkett.

Burkett says they are starting this project without federal funding because they realize there is urgency to do something for the safety of drivers.

Weather permitting, crews will behind work here at Dug Hill and Highway 72 East next week. They expect work to be complete by the end of September.

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