Next week, work is scheduled to begin on a new intersection design at Highway 72 and Dug Hill Road, an intersection known to be deadly. Since last year, four people have died in crashes here. Three died there in two separate crashes last month.
“The angle of the intersection being skewed causes a misconception,” said District Three County Commissioner Craig Hill. “Your depth perception gets messed up, and you think you have longer than you do.”
Hill says he has been pushing for safety improvements since he took office.
“The number of people moving to Huntsville and Madison County everyday, and as the residents move here, traffic increases,” he said.
As traffic increases, a new design of the intersection is expected to help decrease accidents. It’s about to become a restricted crossing u-turn intersection. It is called an R-cut intersection, for short.
“What the R-cut intersection does is reduce the number of conflict points as compared to a normal intersection,” said Seth Burkett, a spokesman for Alabama Department of Transportation. “Motorists at Dug hill Road will no longer be able to make a left turn onto US 72 or to go straight across through the median and continue North or South on Dug Hill in one movement.”
By restricting those left turns and crossings, drivers will instead turn right, and then make a u-turn at a safe distance down the road.
“There may be a learning curb for motorists and take some time for motorists to get used to, but this has been an effective measure where it has been used elsewhere,” he said.
Burkett says although the new intersection design is not common here, it has been effective other places in Alabama.
The improvements to the intersection are expected to cost around $350,000. The project is entirely state-funded. The work is expected to wrap up around September.
Click here to watch a web extra of Burkett talking more in depth about the intersection changes.