By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
One of Atmore’s busiest and most dangerous traffic locations will soon become a lot safer.
Mayor Jim Staff confirmed last week reports that a traffic light would soon be placed on Alabama 21, at the entrance to Walmart.
A steady stream of vehicles on the city’s busiest traffic artery often causes lengthy delays in getting into or out of the store’s parking lot, and the location has become the frequent site of fender-benders and more serious vehicular accidents.
“We’re going to finally get us a traffic light out at Walmart,” Staff said during an informal May 14 meeting in the mayor’s office. “People have been after us to get one out there for quite a while, but we hadn’t been able to get one because (Alabama Department of Transportation officials) said we didn’t have enough traffic count to justify it.”
The site has already been surveyed and the underground portion of the work completed. The next step will be a little out of the ordinary, and Staff pointed out that the new traffic light will come at a cost that could be confusing or aggravating to some motorists.
“ALDOT is going to move the light that’s down on South Main (at its junction with Brookwood Road) out there to Walmart,” he said. “We don’t really need that light anyway, so they’ve agreed to move it. It will still have wooden poles instead of concrete, but we don’t care as long as we can get the light put out there.”
Such a move could create a new set of problems for motorists who will now have to make a left or right turn onto South Main from a stop sign instead of having the aid of a traffic light.
Matt Erickson, an engineer with the state transportation department, could not be reached for comment by Tuesday’s press deadline, but Staff said ALDOT had not yet been able to give city officials a timeline for relocation of the traffic control device.
“They couldn’t tell us how soon it would be because they have so many projects going on,” the mayor said. “But they promised us we would be next in line.”