ETOWAH COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Some Etowah County residents are asking ALDOT to give them a traffic light before it's too late.
Residents who live in the Turkeytown community near the Etowah/Cherokee County line say they’ve seen a number of accidents at the intersection of the Appalachian Highway and U.S. Highway 411, including one just last week involving two cars and an 18 wheeler.
Appalachian Highway is a connector road that connects the area north of Gadsden to Hokes Bluff. It is also heavily used by parents taking children to and from Gaston School.
"We've got local traffic from Hokes Bluff coming this way, to and from work, and you know, towards Centre. We've got a gravel pit over here that, they haul gravel out of here with 18 wheelers, dump trucks and stuff like that," says Steve Vance, who lives nearby.
They've begun contacting ALDOT, state troopers, anyone they can.
Vance compared the need to the accident prone intersection of Highway 204 and Highway 431 in Calhoun County, which eventually got its own traffic light.
The speed limit on that section of Highway 411 is 65 miles per hour.
We reached out to Seth Burkett, a spokesperson for the Easter Region of ALDOT. He questions whether the intersection is a good candidate for a signal.
“After the new section of four-lane opened in 2015, we placed additional stop signs in the median crossover, which greatly reduced the crashes that were initially occurring. However, we do still see some crashes due to motorists running the stop signs in the median. I would urge motorists to obey all stop signs and always look prior to crossing or turning,” Burkett tells WBRC.
"This intersection is not a good candidate for signalization. It is on a 65-mph roadway and is seven miles from the nearest signal. A signal at this location would carry the risk of red-light running. When relatively isolated traffic signals are installed on high-speed roadways, drivers on the main road sometimes fail to notice and obey them because they are not expecting to encounter a signal. Meanwhile, drivers on the side road enter the main road in reliance on the green indication, often without looking.
“It would also lead to an increase in high-speed, rear-end crashes. It’s a common misconception that signals automatically improve intersection safety, but the fact is signals typically increase crashes overall. They give rise to rear-end crashes in particular. When those crashes are occurring at high-speed, you are not trading off for a significant reduction in crash severity. Instead, you are getting additional crashes which may be of a different type, but possibly of equal or greater severity,” Burkett added.