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Safety measures aim to take the thrill out of the hill

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle City Council has approved measures aimed at reducing the risk of tragic accidents occurring on Moss Chapel Road's "Thrill Hill" after hearing the results and recommendations of a traffic safety study conducted by Darrell B. Skipper of Birmingham, a transportation engineering and planning consultant.
Skipper told the governing body the only way to eliminate the risk of another tragic accident occurring on the hill is to close the road. He went on to explain that similar grades exist throughout the state and pointed out that the average daily number of cars (about 132) that use the road and their average speed (34 mph) are not excessive.
Skipper recommended l0 steps as a means of making the hill safer and taking out some of the thrill for those who travel on it at high rates of speed. The governing body accepted all of them at their regular meeting on Tuesday.
The measures to be implemented are as follows:
"After you implement these measures, I recommend that you monitor the roadway carefully and take a look later on at how successful they have been," Skipper said. "If you're not satisfied with the results you can modify the roadway cross section of the hill by cutting off the knobs and flattening out the grade."
Frank Jones, whose home is located at the intersection of Bonniedsale Lane and Moss Chapel, told the council he would be willing to give up part of his front yard if they would agree to install a run-around in the vicinity of the four-way stop.
"I commend you for what you're doing," Jones said. "I feel badly that it wasn't done six years ago."
Karen McKelvey, whose son Patrick Haley was killed in an accident on the hill Dec. 18, 2005, urged the council to follow the recommendations of the study.
"This is not a cookie cutter speed problem," she pointed out. "The people who live there know the danger and take necessary precautions. The problem is for kids who go there to for a thrill. My son was a good kid. He was not a troublemaker. I don't want another family to have to go through what we have."
Skipper said the proposed speed hump is located about 910 feet from the proposed four-way stop and suggested that it be designed to slow traffic to 15 mph. When questioned by Tankersley about the location of a second hump he said it is a possibility, providing it is in a flat area and there is adequate room for signage to warn motorists of its existence.

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