Speed limit sign mix-up on Chapman Mountain to be corrected

Keith Clines, The Huntsville Times By Keith Clines, The Huntsville Times The Huntsville Times
on September 18, 2011 at 7:17 AM

speedometer(Stock photo)

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - Oops. It turns out that those 55 mph speed limit signs that recently went up on U.S. 72 on Chapman Mountain was a mistake.

And they should be coming down this week, if they're not already down, said Johnny Harris, division engineer for the Alabama Department of Transportation.

A couple of people asked last week why construction crews installed speed limit signs on U.S. 72 setting the speed limit at 55 mph on top of Chapman Mountain where the speed limit has been 50 mph for years.

The mix-up is related to the repaving of Interstate 565 from the Madison and Limestone county line to its end near the Maysville/U.S. 72 interchange, and the repaving of U.S. 72 from the interchange to east of Mooresville Road.

The engineering plans for the project called for one speed limit in the construction zone, Harris said. The normal 70 mph speed limit signs on I-565 would be replaced with 55 mph signs, he said. The contractor had only 55 mph speed limit signs at its disposal to install during construction, he said.

What someone didn't account for was that the 55 mph temporary speed limit on U.S. 72 in the Chapman Mountain area was actually higher than the normal speed limit of 50 mph, Harris said.

"We've asked them to take them down," Harris said.

Wiregrass Construction of Dothan was awarded a contract of nearly $8.4 million for the repaving project.

Harris said the company is "getting close" to finishing the project.

Wall Triana exit signs

Mike Elkins asked by email what's going on with the exit signs at the I-565 and Wall Triana Highway exit.

"The ones overhead have been changed to Exit No. 9, while the one on the ground is still Exit No. 8," he said. "The Wall Triana exit has always been Exit No. 8. Why is it being changed, or is there a mistake in the exit number?"

The exit number has been changed because of a recalculation of the exit's distance from the start of I-565, the DOT's Harris said.

Interstate exit numbers correspond with the mile marker number. So, Exit No. 8 would be between eight miles and 8.9999 miles from the where I-565 begins at Interstate 65.

The distances on I-565 have been recalculated, and apparently the Wall Triana Highway exit fell outside the mile eight limits and inside the mile nine limits, Harris said.

"It's pretty close to the actual limit there, apparently," he said.

Harris doesn't expect any of the other exits on I-565 to have their exit number changed.

Walker Avenue bumps

Sandy Hovde wrote us recently about the condition of Walker Avenue in the Old Town Historic Preservation District after a television cable company did some work there.

She said the company filled the trenches they dug six month ago, but the cuts have now settled.

"The road is a mass of bumps which all have to drive every day," she said. "The company needs to have someone come back and refill the trenches."

Terry Hatfield, director of the city's Public Works Services Department, said someone in the department will call the cable company about the problem.

To leave a comment or question about traffic or roads, contact Keith Clines at 256-532-4236, email keith.clines@htimes.com, tweet @KeithClines or fax 256-532-4420. Please include your name, address and a way you can be contacted.