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City moves forward on downtown traffic plan

Hartselle Director of Development Jeff Johnson has notified Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) the city council approved the recommendations made by Sain Engineering to aid in alleviating traffic congestion in downtown Hartselle.

ALDOT will handle changes on the Main St. portion of the traffic flow changes, due to Main St. being part of state Highway 36. This will include striping, crosswalks, radio controlled frequency items to coordinate traffic signals and the railroad crossing arms, and the ped heads (pedestrian crossing signals.)

The response from ALDOT was they would begin the equipment purchasing for this project as soon as they receive the final recommendation from Sain.

Johnson also emailed Sain requesting they provide ALDOT with the needed information for the project.

While the Hwy. 36 or Main St. part of the project will take place first by ALDOT, Mayor Don Hall said he would like to go ahead and change the intersections of Sparkman/Hickory and Sparkman/Chestnut to 4-way stops and remove the traffic signals currently controlling the intersections. A decision on how to make the public aware of the intersection change has not been decided. One possibility would be to set the traffic signals on continuous flashing red on all four sides and placing the stop signs there before taking the signals down.

The city of Hartselle will be responsible for the stripping and signage for the one-way changes on Sparkman and Sycamore streets.

Johnson would like to use thermo plastic stripping for the stripping, similar to what was used on Bethel Road. This would be subbed out, but the new signage would be done in -house.

The city will also be installing a curb and gutter barrier along Sycamore/Hickory as an in house and subcontracted project. This will be necessary to control traffic into and out of the city parking area behind the businesses on the south side of Main Street around the E.A.R.T.H. Park area. Traffic will only be able to exit east out of the parking area once the traffic flow is changed to one-way.

The estimated cost of stripping, signage and the curb/gutter barrier is $25,000. There is no timeline in place for the changes presently. However, the city will need to coordinate the changes they will make with ALDOT changes to ensure the process works seamlessly. Once the Main St. changes are in place two traffic signals from the current eight at Sparkman and Main and Sycamore and Main will be removed by ALDOT.

The south bound signal at Sparkman and Main and the north bound signals at Sycamore and Main will not be necessary with the one-way traffic at those intersections.