Acceleration lane added to I-65 north ramp at exit 228


CALERA – Those driving on Interstate 65 in Calera may have noticed some changes this week. The north ramp leading to Interstate 65 at exit 228 has lost its stop sign and gained an all-new acceleration ramp, a change that Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley said was much needed.

“Over the years, dozens and dozens of wrecks have occurred (at that intersection), and we’ve had several bad wrecks there that resulted in fatalities,” Lemley said of the ramp leading north, which previously merged directly with oncoming traffic. “Two were killed there last summer, and that ignited our fire to get that work done. We’re thankful to ALDOT for pushing that project up and getting it done.”

Gary Ray, district engineer with the Alabama Department of Transportation, said that although the project was primarily intended to provide the acceleration lane, other improvements were also made in the area. Shoulders were widened on Interstate 65, a bridge was replaced and grading work was done to improve sight distance, Ray said.

“It was a very good safety project,” he said. “When (the ramp) was built back in the 1950s, it served well because there wasn’t the traffic out there like there has been the past few years. The more traffic has grown over the years, the more critical the issue of the northbound ramp became.”

The final inspection, as well as a few “punch list items,” still have to be completed, but Ray said the project should be completely finished by the end of the year.

“Calera has been a good help,” he said. “Their efforts are recognized and appreciated.”