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By Staff
Express Inn area needs signal
In the late 1970s, Hartselle's first 33-unit motel was built at the 90-degree angle intersection of Highway 31 S and Hayes Street SW, where the traffic signal was installed in the 1980s at the same intersection.
First, it was Southern Hospitality Inn, then it was Motel Hartselle, Windwood Inn and, currently, Express Inn. At the current motel, visitors trying to leave the driveway at the intersection of Highway 31 and Hayes Street currently have a stop sign but no traffic light across from the motel, that is, while traffic crosses the intersection at the traffic signal.
Motorists driving from south Hartselle use the 90-degree angle intersection as a shortcut, whether taking a child to Barkley Bridge Elementary School, going to a baseball game, or attending a company picnic or reunion at Sparkman Park.
That could make drivers have a hard time waiting on Hayes Street to cross or turn onto Highway 31, even though it is hazardous, every time the traffic light changes, especially in the middle of the intersection where the traffic signal, head lights, street lights and wires in the median connect.
I am not sure if improvements to the Highway 31 at Hayes Street intersection are in the plan, even though, there is no room for large vehicles, such as a bus, to enter the intersection forcing traffic at the intersection to try to cross or turn onto the highway.
A plan includes replacing and upgrading the existing traffic signal plus adding a north-bound left turn lane and a three-color lighted left turn signal with a red light, forcing motorist traveling from south Hartselle to stop on a red signal until a green arrow is activated.
Add a traffic signal at Express Inn accessing to Highway 31 and add protected left-turn green arrows under the green circle on Hayes Street to give one-way access to Highway 31 to reduce congestion along with four street lights.
Also, the road from Highway 31 to Barkley Bridge Road will be widened, including Hayes, Adams, Madison and Groover roads.
Next, no-turn on red signs will be posted at the Karl Prince Drive intersection to prohibit drivers from accessing right turns onto Sparkman or Hayes streets; and on Hayes Street to prohibit right turns onto Karl Prince Drive, even while traffic crosses the intersection.
And, last but not least, four security street lights will be newly installed at the intersections of Highway 31 and 36, Highway 31 and Karl Prince Drive and Nanceford Road, and Highway 31 and Patillo Street along with a new traffic light.
These projects at several intersections may take years down the road. We may never know when it will happen.
Jeffery L. Watson