First, thanks to you and the rest of the ALDOT team for working on solutions and communicating with the public.
We moved to Brook Highland Trace three years ago from Huntsville, and my grown daughter literally shed tears over the 20-minute drive from her home in Vestavia out the “280-killer highway” to our home. Public officials have no idea how stressful, angering and dividing 280 traffic is to all of us.
Second, we in Huntsville are amazed at the nearsightedness of the teams that manage 280. The $12-15 million you want to spend on lights could be spent in much better ways, and there are low-cost solutions at your fingertips.
The simplest way to cut 280 traffic mess is to teach the police and wrecker services to get stalled cars off the road immediately! We’re amazed that the police will leave stalled/wrecked cars in a line of traffic and, worse, park their car selfishly in a line of traffic. Police need to be trained and then salary-docked if they don’t get the cars off 280 within a set limit of time.
The next way to cut 280 traffic mess is to cut down the stop lights – why do we need 12 lights between Brook Highland Parkway and The Summit? Close off some of the lights and route traffic onto the frontage roads.
Next is a computer that will sequence traffic and keep it rolling so that stoplights are sequenced, not at an absurd 55 miles per hour but something more reasonable and safe, say 45 miles per hour or even 40.
Finally, and this is the big idea, Huntsville solved the 280 mess 30 years ago on Memorial Parkway, the major highway that runs north-south through 250,000 people. Over-under ramps cost (Huntsville) perhaps $1 million each, and keep major through traffic flowing at 50-55 miles per hour without a slowdown or stop. Off ramps are every half mile. Cross traffic is neatly handled in two-way, four-lane strips. Perhaps it was the extra smart NASA and Army missile engineers who came up with this idea, but it’s cheap, fast and speedy.
It amazes us newcomers to Birmingham that anyone would want to spend billions of dollars America doesn’t have on an elevated highway. That’s a fantasy boondoggle of underemployed engineers who have their ego tied up in building something to impress future generations. It’s about as intelligent as building another pyramid to impress.
In summary, train and penalize the police and wreckers who don’t move stalled cars immediately off 280, cut down red lights between The Summit and Brook Highland Parkway, computer-sequence the lights at 45 miles per hour and install under-over ramps at every intersection from 119 to The Summit.