JeffCo manager discusses traffic issues

What causes problems with traffic?

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuesday was a rough commute for Jefferson County am Shelby County drivers. They had to deal with rain, accidents and Jefferson County schools starting.

“Traffic in Birmingham is about as bad as traffic in Atlanta. It’s gotten that way over the last year,” driver Keith Mims said.

If you drive in Jefferson County, then you know there will be a lot of drivers on the roadways and a lot of traffic jams.

“It can be congested at times it really can dealing with traffic,” driver Carolyn Jackson said.

Jackson’s problem is known to county leaders.

“In certain area it can be difficult. In certain areas,” Tony Petelos Jefferson County Manager said.

Certainly the 59/20 Bridge Project construction has been an issue downtown. Jefferson County Manager Tony Petelos said county leaders are working to make it better.

Petelos said traffic flow can easier become congested if there is a problem. Why?

“What you got to remember when those roads were built 50-60-70 years ago. They were two lane roads.” Petelos said. “For example Morgan Road, it has been there for many years. Carson Road has been there for many years."

The county is working on Morgan Road to convert it to a five lane road. This will help with traffic congestion trying to get on I-459. Carson Road is another road the county wants to see improvements due to increased congestion.

In 2012 UAB did a traffic study.

“In the past the answer to traffic was to build new roads and add lanes, but we came to the conclusion that this does not work. Eventually your money and available space run out and traffic is still clogged,” UAB transportation expert Virginia Sisiopiku, Ph.D. said.

Petelos agreed building new roads is too expensive. All they can do is pave and add lanes.

“If you look at infrastructure there is slot of infrastructure today and it requires maintenance,” Petelos said.

The study recommended other steps:

  • Encourage drivers to alter commute times
  • Carpooling
  • Create HOV Lanes
  • Limit on ramp vehicles with traffic lights

Petelos said public transportation is another key but drivers are saying the current system has to be fixed first.

Copyright 2019 WBRC. All rights reserved.