Light needed even if inconvenient

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 28, 2008

Altering a road (such as putting up a traffic light) usually comes with its benefits and its detriments. Such will be the case at the completion of a planned project to install a light at the intersection of Lay Dam Road and Ollie Avenue in Clanton.

The Clanton Advertiser reported on Saturday that Alabama Department of Transportation officials have already begun the process of installing traffic lights at the intersection. This is an ALDOT project because Lay Dam Road, or Alabama Highway 145, is a state-maintained road.

A light is needed at this intersection because the two roads are heavily used and will become even more so with the completion of the Clanton campus of Jefferson State Community College on 145. Once drivers get used to the presence of a light here, it will likely save a lot of danger and stress.

At least one fatal wreck has occurred at the intersection, which is difficult to navigate when turning left onto Lay Dam Road because of a curve to the right. However, while people are still adjusting to the presence of the light, it could actually make the intersection more dangerous.

“Everyone is going to have to adjust to the new light,” Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver told the Advertiser. “Some might be a little gun-shy when they pull out because they won’t know whether the other drivers realize there is a traffic light there.”

For a while, that will be a real concern.

Another interesting aspect to this story is the possibility – raised by a user on our Web site – of other lights on 145. It isn’t a stretch to foresee traffic lights in front of Chilton Medical Center, in front of Jeff State and at the intersection with Friendship Road.

There’s a reason for the term “growing pains.” But anything that makes us safer is hard to argue against.