Signal may be added at County Road 11 and Old Highway 280
CHELSEA, Ala. —
Having a traffic signal at the intersection of County Road 11 and Old Highway 280 has been a priority for Chelsea Mayor Tony Picklesimer since he took office a few years ago. He says two years ago, the city conducted traffic counts at the intersection, but it did not meet the guidelines to have one installed.
Picklesimer added the recent closure of County Road 377, which many used as a cut through off of Highway 11, has increased traffic at the intersection. Coupled with the recent widening of the intersection, the road closure made the city want reevaluate the intersection's traffic count.
"It has been in the works for a while," Mayor Picklesimer said. "It has been many conversations with Shelby County...[and] with the administration at Chelsea High School. My number one job is to keep everybody safe. We feel like this is something we really need to get done."
Tuesday, Shelby County began traffic counts at the intersection to see if it meets the guidelines of having a signal added. Wednesday, manual counts were done to not only track the volume of traffic but the direction as well. Picklesimer said last Friday and Monday there were accidents at the intersection, which necessitated a deputy for traffic guidance all week.
"The intersection is somewhat complicated, because it involves yield signs rather than stop signs," Picklesimer said. "That is what creates the problem, and a lot of time with inexperienced drivers, yield signs do not get the attention that they deserve. It is not a complicated intersection at all, but it does have yield signs affecting it instead of stop signs."
Chelsea High School is a mile and a half up the road from the intersection. Principal Wayne Trucks says between students and faculty, nearly 1,000 people use that intersection each day. The intersection has been a concern for him in the 12 years he has worked at Chelsea High School.
"Be it traffic, be it walking the hallways, our number one concern is the safety of our students and the safety of our faculty and staff," Trucks said. "If I can get them here safely, I can usually take care of them once they are in the building, but it is also nice to know that they are going to make it home safely as well."
Chelsea High School teacher Amy Hann said the intersection can cause headaches before and after school, as it's always on her mind.
"I think about it daily, because my daughter drives it daily, and I have 155 students that are like my kids, and they drive it daily too," Hann said. "I am concerned about them as well. "
"In my opinion, if that intersection is lit with dedicated turn arrows, it should greatly improve the safety of everybody who is using it," Picklesimer said. "It is one of our busiest intersections."
The traffic count process is not a multi-week process, and it should take only a few days, according to Picklesimer.