City will widen Walnut Avenue

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 22, 2003

Some consider the Walnut Avenue and U.S. Highway 80 intersection one of the most treacherous in town.

After two years of making requests to the Alabama Department of Transportation, Demopolis Mayor Austin Caldwell finally has received permission to make some changes to the intersection.

According to Caldwell, a turning lane from Walnut Avenue onto U.S. 80 West will be added. Along with that, a "stack" lane for those cars turning East on U.S. 80 also will be installed.

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In all, the street will be widened near McDonald’s and the Church of Christ, allowing more cars to turn right on U.S. 80 without getting caught in numerous red lights on Walnut.

That turn lane will only require Walnut Avenue to be widened by a few feet, which also will allow for a center lane to be extended by 100 to 150 feet, Caldwell said.

Jeff Manuel, director of public safety, said the turning lane will help solve some of the traffic problems at that intersection.

Manuel did warn that if the lanes are not added correctly, the changes to the intersection could actually have an adverse effect, though.

It’s unlikely a turning lane that makes the intersection more dangerous will be added. Currently, Caldwell has hired Almon Associates &045;&045; an engineering firm in Tuscaloosa &045;&045; to draw up the plans for the new intersection.

This road expansion marks the second announcement of improvements to Walnut Avenue. Earlier this month, the city council agreed to resurface a number of roads in the city. Walnut Avenue is one of those that will get a face lift later this summer.