ALDOT holds public hearing on Highway 280 changes

Transportation leaders tackle traffic trouble on 280. They say the highway is like a never ending rush hour. It's one of the state's most heavily traveled roads and upgrades could offer relief, but some of the plans are getting opposition from local leaders. The state is still working on a long term fix for the {}congestion, but in the meantime, the Department of Transportation has a few temporary solutions from Hollywood Boulevard to Doug Baker Boulevard.{}"There are some places we can take down a few signals and by doing that give that green time back to 280," Brian Davis, 3rd Division Engineer, ALDOT said.$15 million will revamp 26 intersections."It's important to bring it to the table," Rep. Paul DeMarco, Homewood said. "280 has been a decades long problem and the only way to solve it is to bring it to the forefront."Here's the plan: ALDOT will increase the time drivers wait at stop lights to get onto 280, but once they make that turn, their trip will be much faster. Good news for many... "I am a huge proponent of eliminating as many lights as possible," a resident along Highway 280 said."We looked at traffic volumes," Davis said. "If we had a light left turn in one place and if we felt like that light left turn was making too much of an impact on bigger volume, we eliminated it. We'll ask that person to go down and make a u turn and come back."The largest group gathered around the information about Cherokee road in Mountain Brook. The state is planning to erase their stop light meaning cars will now have to turn right and make a u-turn by the water works."It's an accident waiting to happen," another Highway 280 neighbor said during the meeting."If we have to turn right and make a u turn with 55 mile an hour traffic I just think that's really asking for a lot of wrecks," Ali Powell, who lives in Mountain Brook said.And it's that u-turn that has Mountain Brook's Police Chief worried. He told us, that would be 'disastrous' for drivers and puts parents and children at risk on the road to Mountain Brook Elementary."Public safety wise, I do think you will increase traffic accidents," Ted Cook, Mountain Brook Police Chief said."We've got dozens of families getting their kids across the highway every morning for school,'' Alan Zeigler, Mountain Brook resident said. "There is no other option."ALDOT plans to have the project completed by next year.