In this Your Voice Your Station report, Kimberly residents told CBS 42’s Jake Chapman they fear that without a traffic light, a dangerous intersection will continue to put their loved ones’ lives at risk.
Kimberly, Ala. (WIAT) — After numerous accidents at an intersection in Kimberly, community members are calling for change.
More than 10 accidents, including one fatal crash, have occurred at the intersection of Highway 31 and Stouts Road in 2020, according to Kimberly Police Chief Ricky Pridmore.
Following Alabama Senator Shay Shelnutt’s request, ALDOT is conducting a study of the area to see if a red light is needed. A majority of first responders and community members in the area believe the intersection is long overdue for a traffic light.
Courtney Green, a physical therapist and trainer at 10-41 Fitness, located at the intersection of Stouts Road and Highway 31, says traffic is chaotic on a regular basis.
“So, when I come out of the gym, it doesn’t matter what [time] it is. You have to be careful, because everyone is flying up and down 31,” Green said.
With her workplace adjacent to the intersection, Green has witnessed several wrecks in the area. She says one involved two families and a little boy, who had been ejected from the vehicle.
“That was pretty tough to handle…trying to make sure the families were ok,” Green said.
Green said she was the second person to arrive to the scene of the one fatal crash at the intersection.
“I was at work one day and my mom actually came into the gym, just in hysterics. She said there was a crash that just happened. And by the time I ran out–and I was the second on the scene–and the lady had passed away,” Green said.
Pridmore says the woman who died in this accident was 81 years old.
“When we got there, there was nothing to do. And she had just pulled out in front of someone,” Green recalled.
Green fears if change doesn’t come to the intersection, accidents will increase and worsen. Her worst fear…
“School traffic. Buses and things like that…I would hate to see that or come to a wreck involving them,” Green said.
Pridmore wonders why neighboring communities have traffic lights at major intersections, but Kimberly doesn’t.
“If everyone else is important enough to have a red light at a major intersection, why aren’t we?” Pridmore said.
He believes installing a light would be a simple fix.
“Well, you put smoke alarms in the house to save people from fires, so I would say put a traffic light at an intersection to save people from wrecks,” Pridmore said.
Pridmore says majority of the accidents at the intersection result in heavily damaged vehicles and significant injuries.
“Most of us that work, we’re from around here. A lot of times the people that we are seeing in these vehicles, we know or live here. So, it kind of hits home,” Pridmore said.
A light has been installed at the intersection to help with visibility at night. People see it as progress, but believe a red light would solve more problems.
“I don’t think you can put a price on a life. One life this year’s enough,” Pridmore said.
Green urges the state to see the issue through the lens of the community members, many of whom have had personal experiences with wrecks at the intersection.
“[When you] see a kid that’s bleeding all over his face and you don’t know where the blood is coming from…those personal experiences will make you kind of change your mind,” Green said.
The study should be completed by January. If the study concludes in favor of adding a traffic light, Pridmore says they plan to act quickly and get it installed as soon as possible. If the study determines that a traffic light isn’t needed, Pridmore says they will continue fighting for it as they believe it will help traffic and protect lives.
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