New changes for Hwy 280, Valleydale Rd. intersection

Big changes Friday morning on one of Highway 280's major intersections. {}It's part of a state plan to ease congestion. {}

It's safe to say...."Very congested. Slow moving," Meagan Murphy, a driver said.{}{}Highway 280 is anything but a relaxing ride."It was terrible!" One driver yelled from the roadway.State transportation leaders say they're trying to make things a little easier.{}"Out of all the intersections we've done on 280, this is probably the intersection that got the most change," Brian Davis, Engineer, ALDOT said.The goal is to give more green light time back to 280. Friday morning was the start of the most complicated change yet."By eliminating these two lefts out, and moving them down the road, it allows you to make those four movements at the same time," Davis said.ALDOT has eliminated the left turn onto Valleydale Road and the left onto Cahaba Beach replacing it with a u-turn - meaning drivers have to go one stop further, wait for the light, u-turn, then make the Valleydale turn. It sounds complicated, but promises to make a faster drive time."We will sign the outside lane for trucks, we will sign the inside lane for cars," Davis said. "We bowled that thing out wide so the tractor trailer can make that move."Drivers told us, while their overall commute time is faster, this first day has been confusing."280 is faster," Darnell Walker, a driver said. "When it comes to turning, you have to know when to turn and look at signs.""I realized I couldn't keep straight, so I had to take a left and turn all the way back around and it was a waste of time," Walker said. "It had me late to work one day.""Right now, it's the first day, there's a lot of confusion," William Clifton, who lives nearby said. "I live here so I'm confused as well. Give it a week or so, let people get used to it and see what happens.""When I went to Spain Park, we would come down and we would get in that turn lane to come down, and now they're going to have to go through Meadow Brook which is already congested and it's just going to get worse," Murphy said.Davis says if you live or work on 280, spend a little time driving it this weekend - to avoid confusion Monday morning."I would encourage everyone to get out this weekend, drive the intersection, learn what moves are being made where, learn where to be what to look for and get comfortable knowing where to go," Davis said.

Officers will be directing traffic throughout the weekend and the first part of next week, helping drivers get used to the changes. The striping and new signs will be installed over the next few weeks. The overall 280 project will be finished by Thanksgiving.