Straighten 52 for safety’s sake

As anyone who travels around Pelham knows, the intersection of U.S. 31 and Shelby County 52 turns into a classic logjam during the morning and evening rush hours.

That’s dangerous enough, but when traveling on Shelby County 52, drivers must also navigate a road that crosses over two high-traffic lanes of U.S. 31, crosses a pair of railroad crossings mere feet from each other, and includes a hairpin curve better suited to NASCAR than to a local highway.

Now ideas to help are finally seeing the light of day with news that state and local officials are seeking federal funding to both straighten Shelby County 52 between U.S. 31 and Clark Street and elevate the road over the pair of railroad crossings.

According to Pelham Mayor Don Murphy, Sen. Richard Shelby and Sen. Spencer Bachus earmarked $12 million in a federal transportation budget bill to fund the project. However, the bill has not been passed yet, and could still see some changes before passage.

Although Murphy could not offer a timeline for the project, this is certainly a project that should happen as soon as possible. For such a well-traveled highway, Shelby County 52 is surprisingly dangerous, with its winding, sharp curves combined with houses and businesses quite close to the road.

Straightening and elevating the highway would be a huge step for traffic safety in Pelham; and since U.S. 31 and Interstate 65 would see changes, motorists from all over the county and metro area would benefit as well.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.