Dangerous roads for drivers

Special Reports

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Between visibility issues or lack of road barriers, some roads seem hazardous by design. CBS 42 traffic anchor Michelle Logan reports on dangerous roads in central Alabama. 

In Calhoun County, some commuters expressed concern about their safety while traveling the Eastern Bypass between Anniston and Oxford (Highway 431).

Joanna Ross drives the bypass nearly every day. 

“It’s just like — are we ever gonna go off this cliff one day?” said Ross. “Because there’re no guardrails there.”

Ross said she often hears complaints about the Highway 431, especially in rainy conditions. 

“I got maybe four employees that go over this bypass every time they come to work,” said Ross. “And they’d rather go around 10th St. or go around through Oxford just to get home and they live just over the bypass there. They feel unsafe.”

When the bypass first opened, there were several deadly crashes in the area. The wrecks left a lasting impression on some community members, like Don Knight, who drives Highway 431 at least once a day. 

“They had a couple going over the bypass,” said Knight. “They had one right up the road there, a fella got killed.”

Seeing a safety issue at hand, the Anniston Police Department stepped in. Sergeant Michael Webb said the department teamed up with ALDOT to create a safer driving environment. 

“They’ve got additional signage out here,” said Webb. “We also stepped up patrol, had officers out here a significant amount of time, and it’s really made a big impact on traffic traveling through here now.”

Taking action to limit harm from potentially dangerous roads is exactly the point of traffic studies being done in one Jefferson County city. 

Mountain Brook Police Chief Ted Cook said their traffic studies look at traffic speed, traffic volume and direction of traffic over the course of a week. 

“It has identified for us some problem areas,” said Cook.

The information collected in the study is paired with recommendations from traffic engineer consultants. Then, the Mountain Brook Police Department takes action. 

There have been multiple fatal wrecks on Highway 280. To improve safety, they installed generators in every traffic light on Highway 280 in their city, so traffic in the area shouldn’t be affected when the power goes out. 

But the traffic study addressed smaller roads, too — prompting the installation of signs reminding drivers to slow down. 

“We know that when we first purchased those blinking speed indicator lights, we know that it was a great success here among our own residents,” said Cook. “We immediately started getting other calls from other jurisdictions because their residents were seeing them and making inquiries about them too.”


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