New left turn signal at Hwy 25 and 31 enhances traffic flow in Calera

Published 11:52 am Wednesday, September 6, 2023

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

CALERA – The bustling intersection of Highway 25 and 31 has long been a cause of concern and inconvenience for Calera residents and visitors. However, with the recent installation of a new left turn signal, many are breathing a sigh of relief and noting immediate improvements in traffic flow.

“The addition of a left turn light at Hwy 25 and 31 is a total game changer,” said Jackie Batson, executive director of Calera Main Street. “I could tell a difference from day one, even before any adjustments were made. This changes how many of us locals use this intersection. In the past, I was basically trained to never turn left there. Instead, I’d go to the next light where the wait was much shorter, but I’m thrilled that I don’t have to do that anymore.”

The newly installed signal and revamped traffic pattern not only promise an easier transit for drivers, but it also stands to boost the local economy. With eased access to the downtown area, more visitors and residents may find it convenient to visit the downtown shops on Hwy 25. Before this change, many opted for alternative routes to avoid the notorious congestion at this junction.

The installation of the left turn signal has been an objective of the city for a considerable amount of time and is the culmination of a series of City Council discussions informed by a long history of feedback from the community.

“As someone who attends every City Council meeting, I’ve heard this request for some time, as well as the need for other signals elsewhere in the city,” Batson said.

However, installing new traffic signals isn’t a straightforward or entirely local decision. All alterations to traffic signals have to be reviewed and authorized by the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT).

“It doesn’t matter how badly we think we need a signal if their traffic counts don’t support it,” she said.

This bureaucratic step is meant, in part, to ensure that any modifications to intersections across the state meet set standards for safety and efficacy. However, it can also lead to delayed improvements that many see as long overdue.

The City Council and the community are hopeful that this improvement is a sign of more positive changes to come. For now, local residents are enjoying the newfound convenience and shorter wait times at the intersection.

Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the updated traffic flow and ask that they continue to provide feedback to city officials. As always, the city of Calera aims to prioritize the safety and convenience of all who navigate its streets.

“Any time there are major traffic changes made, they have to start slow and tweak it as the public gets used to the change,” Batson said. “At this point, there is ample time for many cars to make it through with the new turn light.”

This development marks a significant step toward improving the infrastructure of the city and is the latest in a recent string of improvements aimed at ensuring that Calera remains accessible and vibrant for everyone. The turn signal has been operational since Aug. 31.