New traffic lights to go live this Wednesday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 24, 2004

For those traveling on Fort Dale Road visiting fast food restaurants, hotels, and auto dealers or doing some shopping on Wednesday, something new adorned the skyline.

That something new were 10 new traffic signals that will control traffic turning onto and off of Interstate Drive, Cahaba Road and Fort Dale Road.

According to James Adams, transportation manager with the Alabama Department Transportation, the lights have been put in place to control the potential increase in traffic for the growing area.

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Right now, the lights are simply flashing red and yellow, but for locals, be aware that will change quickly.

&uot;If the weather is not bad, the new lights will go online next Wednesday morning,&uot; Adams said. &uot;Right now they are in flash mode, but the online day is tentatively set. They put them in a flash mode.

It is tentatively set.&uot;

Adams said the biggest problem traffic wise would be locals unaccustomed to stopping after the Interstate exit light.

&uot;Your biggest problem will be locals who are not used to stopping and turning at the lights,&uot; he said. &uot;Those simply traveling through Greenville and getting off on the exit will pay attention to the lights because they are usually more careful in their travels.&uot;

Mayor Dexter McLendon said the lights would help alleviate future traffic as well as existing problems.

&uot;We already knew we had a problem with traffic exiting Interstate Drive and Cahaba Road,&uot; he said Friday afternoon. &uot;When they go online with the lights, the DOT plans to synchronize them all.

This will keep the flow of traffic moving easily down Fort Dale and keep traffic from backing up on the two side streets.&uot;

So that takes care of traffic on the Cahaba Road side of the new shopping center, but what about the back side on Manningham Road?

At this time, McLendon said there are no plans to place a light at the back exit, because the lots are designed to exit on Cahaba Road. However, McLendon said a traffic light on Manningham Road has not been ruled out.

&uot;We are going to do a count of the number of cars traveling on Manningham and keep a close eye on it,&uot; he said.

&uot;We’ll do what we need to do as we go along.&uot;

For now, those lights will flash to get people used to the idea, according to Allen Powell, assistant public works superintendent.

&uot;I went out there and talked to them about what they were doing and how they were setting them&uot; he said.

&uot;By letting them flash a few days, people will get used to the lights being there.&uot;

Chris Bates, who manages Bates Texaco at the Fort Dale and Cahaba roads intersection, said the whole lighting system is confusing at this time, and he hopes it clears soon.

&uot;They’re kind of confusing right now,&uot; he said.

&uot;Once people get used to them, it will be better I’m sure.&uot;

Bates’ store has an entrance from Cahaba Road, but he said that is mainly for large delivery trucks to get in.

He did say he believed it would help traffic flowing out off Cahaba and Interstate Drive.

&uot;Right now it is very hard for people to get out of there with just a stop sign,&uot; he said. &uot;This may help in that way, and cut down on other problems.&uot;

So be mindful that on Wednesday, the new traffic lights go live, and the Greenville Police Department will be patrolling the area to aid local motorists in remembering that red means stop.