HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – We brought you a story back in August about an intersection that was causing a lot of confusion for drivers.
“What we had before was eastbound and westbound had a ‘T’ intersection, and yield control and the south bound approach had uncontrolled. So they actually had free movement which is unusual for a ‘T’ intersection,” said Interim Director of Traffic Engineering, Dan Sanders.
This “free movement” was rather confusing for anyone entering the intersection of L &N Drive and Eagletree Lane.
We took action and called traffic engineering for the city of Huntsville, asking for help to what was driving you crazy.
“We pulled up a 5 year collision history of that particular intersection and found that there were 15 wrecks,” said Sanders. Eleven of them, Sanders says, were completely preventable accidents— if there were no “free movements”.
So they began looking into how to fix the problem: “It involved not knowing what traffic control would be the most appropriate there. For a while there we were looking at signalization– a full-blown traffic signal,” said Sanders. “That would have involved a lot more interconnect with the railroad.”
And a lot more money.
“If we had gone with a signal option, that would have involved interconnect with the railroad. And the prices we were getting back from the railroad authority, to modify their tracks, signals, was in the neighborhood of $200,000 plus!”
That was just for the railroad tie-in. To add the actual traffic light it would have been another $50 to $60,000 for the hardware alone. “That would have been a large number, going upwards of $275,000,” said Sanders.
A number they weren’t quite comfortable with. So Sanders says they went back to the drawing board.
“We were uncertain at the time if an all-way stop would back up traffic,” said Sanders. “We did some computer modeling of that as an all way and found that it would operate at a fairly acceptable level of service.”
And an acceptable price tag.
“We went ahead and put the signs and striping in for a cost of about $1,500, plus labor– so you can see it was quite a difference.”
And Those wrecks? Well you should see much fewer of them.
“To reduce the confusion and just have everyone come to a stop instead of wondering what the other driver was going to do.”
Except, while I was at the intersection on Monday afternoon, more than a dozen cars, including a city worker, in a city vehicle, blew through the sign without even tapping on the brakes. So, you’ll still want to stay advised as people get used to the new signage.