More lights in store for Highway 280

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 23, 2004

More traffic lights are coming to U.S. Highway 280 in Shelby County, thanks to an agreement between the county, the state and private developers.

Shelby County engineer Randy Cole said during Monday’s county commission meeting that the state Department of Transportation is still reviewing the agreement, but he said he expects approval next week.

Three new traffic lights are planned for U.S. 280 at the intersections with Shelby County 41, Shelby County 43 and Highland Lakes Drive. The lights are apart of a broad effort at the state and local level to improve safety on traffic-snarled U.S. 280.

&uot;We have been working with the state to get safety improvements on 280. Even though it’s maintained by the Alabama Department of Transportation, it’s important to citizens of this county,&uot; Cole said.

The total cost of the three lights is $1.43 million, with the state and county paying equal amounts. Cole said he met with developers, in particular those who are building large plots of homes on U.S. 280, who have agreed to pay most of the county’s half of the cost.

&uot;They realize they contribute to traffic,&uot; Cole said.

Bill Thornton of Thornton Construction, J.T. Stephens of Ebsco Realty and Eddleman Properties are each contributing $150,000 toward the county’s portion of the cost. The county commission has already budgeted money to pay the remainder, Cole said.

Several concerned citizens spoke during Monday’s meeting about the dangerous traffic conditions on U.S. 280. On Nov. 2, a Chelsea High School senior died in a traffic accident on U.S. 280.

Karen Salter lives in Mt. Laurel and said she dreads the thought of more serious accidents near the intersection with Shelby County 41.

&uot;Everyday, I wait to hear about another occurrence at that intersection,&uot; she said.

Debbie Arnold lives on Highway 36 in Chelsea. She attended Monday’s meeting to show her concern.

&uot;I wanted to see what they are talking about, to see what we can do as citizens to get 280 under control,&uot; she said.

Commissioner Ted Crockett applauded the cooperative effort between the state, developers and the county.

&uot;It does show that if you work together, developers, the county and the state – we can get things done,&uot; he said