Beltline Road intersection complete, work to begin on second intersection

Feb. 12—The project to realign Beltline Road Southwest left-turn lanes at two intersections is at the halfway point with a road contractor completing the Central Parkway intersection and moving to the Sandlin Road intersection this week.

The adjustments to the left-turn lanes are part of a close to $1.6 million project by road contractor Wiregrass Construction, said Seth Burkett, spokesman for the Alabama Department of Transportation.

The project involves adjusting the turn lanes at the two intersections so drivers on the Beltline wanting to turn left have a better view of oncoming traffic. Traffic signals with a permissive left-turn arrow have already been added at both intersections. The contractor also made drainage improvements to the Beltline Road median.

Beltline Road's left-turn lanes at its intersection with Central Parkway/Central Avenue had been closed since the project began last summer. They reopened last week, but the contractor still plans to lay permanent striping sometime this week, Burkett said.

The Sandlin Road intersection work could begin as early as Monday with the work start depending on the weather, Burkett said.

City Engineer Carl Prewitt said the two left-turn lanes became an issue when the state widened Beltline Road to six lanes in 2014.

"People always had an option to turn left when there was no oncoming traffic, but the state removed that option when they widened the road," Prewitt said. "People started to complain that they were having to sit for long periods of time. We had a lot of drivers run red lights because they got tired of waiting."

A permissive left turn allows drivers to go when there's a blinking yellow arrow and no oncoming traffic.

State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, led the push for the turn-lane project, and the city received an Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program-II grant to fund it. The grant required a 10% match by the city.

Prewitt said the city examined whether lane adjustments could be made at two other Beltline Road intersections between Sixth Avenue and Danville Roads.

The Beltline's Veterans Drive intersection is "too short" while changing the Modaus Road intersection didn't allow for enough sight distance for drivers to safely turn left, Prewitt said. or 256-340-2432. Twitter @DD_BayneHughes.