MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — There has been a lot of work to make changes to a stretch of highway in southwest Alabama. Highway 45 has been the site of many deadly crashes over the years.
This week the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) is adding a safety feature called “scoring” to the center lane of Highway 45.
The scoring is a set of grooves that will be placed in the centerline of Highway 45, so that if you drift out of your lane, you’ll feel it and hear it. The scoring is being used in an attempt to curb the number of accidents and fatalities on the roadway.
Brian Aaron, the assistant region engineer for ALDOT’s Southwest Region believes the safety measure will help reduce the amount of accidents on the roadway.
“We saw a lot of head-on collisions, fatalities occurring because of those head-ons this is a proven countermeasure that’s used all across the country to combat that,” said Aaron.
ALDOT said 15 people have been killed on the highway in head-on collisions in the last five years and they decided it was time to try to increase the safety measures on the busy road. ALDOT has already scored the sides of Highway 45.
“It appears the benefit these provide, you can expect to see up to about a 30% reduction in head-on collisions, ” said Aaron. “Of course, not every countermeasure that is installed is 100% effective, but if we can save one life.”
For years, many, including officials have said the highway is extremely dangerous to drive on. One of those officials, State Representative Shane Stringer. He’s an advocate for widening the highway to a four-lane road.
“I think everything we do is going to help. Even the small stuff as far as trimming trees, the scoring of the road, new entrance and exit points to Highway 45,” said Stringer.
But he said ultimately, the amount of traffic along the highway, especially during the summer, is too much for what’s built.
“We’ve neglected it and kicked the can down the road long enough, it’s time they stopped neglecting Highway 45 and addressed the issue,” said Stringer.
ALDOT said they agree there is an increase in traffic during the tourist months, but that there are other two-lane roads all across the state that need to be addressed.
“At this time, highway 45 does not rise to the level of the criteria to have to widen the roadway today. We acknowledge there’s additional traffic out there, there are just other pressing needs out there in the state,” said Aaron.
This project is expected to take six to eight weeks to complete. They will start the scoring of the middle lane at the Mississippi state line and work their way down Highway 45.