Work continues to upgrade interstate lighting

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham drivers understand what it is like to drive in the darkness.

"It's hard to see what's on the road," says Larry McCammon. "Going under the freeway you can easily run up on someone and not see them."

The Alabama Department of Transportation understands the frustration.

"Most of the lights in the metro area are antiquated," says Brian Davis of ALDOT. "Most are 20-30 years old lighting systems that have been there a long time."

Davis says the cities are responsibile for maintaining the lights.  However, cities like Birmingham are struggling to find money.

"The citizens may have a delay in having those lights turned on," says Birmingham Mayor William Bell. "But, after the first of July, I guarantee we will do everything we promised in the past."

Davis says he wants to join Bell and other mayors in asking the Metropolitan Planning Organization to put in new lights. Davis says the state would pay 20 percent of the cost and MPO would pick up the rest.

"It will be a new lighting system which, you don't say is maintenance free, but it will be easy to maintain," says Davis.

MPO Chairman Doug Brewer says there is a lot of people wanting them to spend MPO money on their projects, so creating a project priority is tough.  However, Brewer says he is willing to listen to the group.

"Absolutely," says Brewer. "The MPO is made up of mayors, county commissioners."

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