Roadwork on I-65 may cause delaysBy Emily Etheredge Published 5:12pm Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Roadwork spanning 27.9 miles on Interstate 65 affecting exits in Chilton County may cause delays for motorists as Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) installs a guiderail.
ALDOT’s Fifth Division Engineer Dee Rowe said the project started at mile marker 198 and will end at mile marker 225.9 as a cable guiderail will be installed in the median of I-65.
“The purpose of the guiderail is to prevent crossover crashes which occur when a vehicle leaves the roadway, crosses the median, and strikes another vehicle going in the opposite direction,” Rowe explained. “The guiderails consist of steel cables and posts which serve as a physical barrier separating the two directions of interstate traffic.”
The cost of the project is $1,549,931 and should be completed by Dec. 12.
“The public can expect some delays for temporary lane closures which are necessary for the construction of the guiderail,” Rowe said. “Both northbound and southbound lanes are affected. Lane closures are restricted to times when traffic volumes are lower.”
The Fifth Division of ALDOT covers counties including Bibb, Chilton, Fayette, Green, Hale, Lamar, Perry, Pickens, Sumter and Tuscaloosa.
In 2011, The Clanton Advertiser reported that three wrecks near the 200-mile marker, resulting in a combined eight deaths, occurred on a one-mile stretch of I-65.
One incident occurred when a tire blew out on a motorist’s Ford Explorer and the vehicle overturned several times, crossed the median and collided with two vehicles traveling the opposite direction.
Another incident occurred when a Birmingham woman and her 10-month-old son died after their vehicle crossed the median and collided with a dump truck.
An ALDOT Spokesman Tony Harris said in 2011 that interstate highways were among the safest types of roads motorists travel on.
“There are medians that divide opposing lanes of traffic, the lanes are wider than they typically are on other roads, construction is straighter, hills and curves are minimized—and all that is to create the safest highways we can for carrying large volumes of traffic. Most [wrecks] can be attributed to driver error—distractions or speeding. Also, failure to wear seatbelts is a major problem. Sixty-five percent of all fatalities in Alabama are the result of no seatbelts. That’s well above the national average of 52 percent.”
The common theme among the wrecks in 2011 was when one vehicle would cross into and collide with traffic traveling the opposite direction.
Harris said in 2011 that ALDOT had a program that analyzed the interstate system to determine the needs for “median barrier protection.”
Plans were in place in 2011, prior to the string of fatal wrecks, to install “cable guide rails” along I-65 in Chilton County.
Such rails can be found lining the interstate from the Chilton-Shelby line north to Birmingham, and in other parts of the state.