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Traffic signal in sight for deadly intersection

Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 9:46 am

Petition drive is a success.

Petition drive is a success.

The intersection of Highway 275 (Lincoln Road) and U.S. Highway 231/431 (the Huntsville Highway), where numerous fatal accidents have occurred over the years, is likely to be signalized, according to state officials.

The signalization project has entered the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s draft audit phase, meaning that, pending unforeseen issues, a road safety audit could be completed by April, and once that is done, the DOT will request that its design division move the project through the development process.

“This is a good example of citizens getting involved in an issue,” said State Sen. Jim Tracy, who chairs the state senate’s transportation committee, explaining that he had been contacted by a local resident, Todd Monks, who spearheaded a campaign to secure the signalization project. “With Todd’s persistence and [State Rep.] Pat Marsh’s help, we’ve been able to push this project forward.

“Ultimately, it will save lives and make roads safer in Lincoln County,” he said. “We would not have been successful had it not been for everyone being persistent … It just demonstrates how an important issue and a dangerous situation can be addressed when we all get behind it.”

Marsh commended TDOT for its work, saying, “The Department of Transportation has a difficult job, particularly when it comes to emotional issues such as this. But I’m confident they know what they’re doing and that the end result will be in the best interest of the people.”

Monks’ effort to secure the signal began with a Facebook campaign in August of last year. Then, too, he wrote a letter to the editor of The Times and appeared before the Lincoln County Commission, encouraging officials and citizens alike to get behind the effort.

“I want to thank everyone for their ‘likes’ on Facebook and for everyone that emailed me their support as well,” Monks wrote in a email, responding to a Times’ email last week. “Each one helped play a part in showing Lincoln County’s support for the need of the traffic light.

“I would also like to give a personal thank you to all of the local officials that listened and supported this cause, and thank you to Sen. Tracy who helped see it through,” he continued. “After the light is installed, hopefully we will see a safer intersection for all.”

One thing that will have to be addressed after the draft audit phase is completed is ongoing funding for the signal’s maintenance – the state would likely install the traffic light, but the county would be responsible for maintaining it, according to preliminary plans.

Marsh also noted that safety studies are being conducted on Highway 110 (Ardmore Highway), from Old Huntsville Road to the Fayetteville city limits, as well as on Wilson Parkway in front of Goodman Manufacturing.

The Highway 110 project, also in a draft audit phase, would be the focus of several improvements, including upgrades to roadway warning signs, new pavement markers and roadway delineation.

“These types of low-cost safety countermeasures will be expedited to a construction letting through our ‘No-Plans Contract’,” said Deanna Lambert, community relations officer with TDOT. “The No-Plans Contract process means the design phase is omitted, thus saving time and expediting the safety project.”

On both the Lincoln Road/Huntsville Highway signalization and the improvements on Highway 110, a project schedule should be developed by the second quarter of 2013, she said.