A new traffic light at the intersection of US-431 and SR-165 in Russell County is already helping out with traffic woes, but that's not enough for some residents.
For a week now the new traffic signal has been up and running at the busy intersection. The response has been good, and authorities are already seeing results.
Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor says, "We've had a lot of comments and a lot of people talking to me telling me that it's a lot better coming through that intersection. It's a lot safer."
For years Russell County Sheriff's deputies were called to the intersection of 431 and 165 for a variety of fender benders and serious accidents. In the first week authorities are seeing quite a few people running the new red light out of sheer surprise, but change is taking shape.
Sheriff Taylor says, "That was a dangerous intersection, and certainly the calls are down as far as wrecks and that type of stuff happening there."
Heath Mangum says he's happy about the new light on 431, but there are many other intersections in the area that could use a traffic signal like at US-80 and Evans Road. "I think it's very dangerous because a lot of times you'll sit there waiting in line and you can just see the impatience in people trying to go out."
Many residents share his concern but may not realize that the state of Alabama controls the highways. Sheriff Taylor says he applied for the light on 431 three or four times before getting approved. "We did not have the traffic count that the state requires," says the sheriff, "and so it's not a matter of the local people want a light and therefore we can just put one up, and that's the situation that we face."
But Tish Freeman specifically avoids the Evans Road intersection and goes out of the way on her daily route to join US-80 from a stop light. She says, "Highway 80 is such a long stretch of accidents just waiting to happen, so to break it up with traffic lights would be a good decision."
Sheriff Taylor says Russell and Lee counties are rapidly growing areas. He reminds everyone to be patient as the counties and state work to adjust to an increase in traffic.
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