ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION New Releases for 2008 [email protected] [email protected] Compiled: 5/4/2011 This document is a co...
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ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION New Releases for 2008 [email protected] [email protected] Compiled: 5/4/2011

This document is a compilation of the press releases that were released for the during 2008 by ALDOT due to weather conditions, debris cleanup, road construction, rail crossing signal installations, etc. For more information on any of the releases please contact the Communications & Community Relations Department.

ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ALDOT Traffic Cameras in Mobile Now Available Online; More Cameras Available for Birmingham Area June 26, 2008 – The Alabama Department of Transportation is adding traffic cameras for the Mobile area to its web site for the first time, and is increasing the number of traffic cameras in Birmingham available for public viewing via the Internet. The cameras provide computer users with real-time access to streaming video of Birmingham and Mobile traffic conditions. ALDOT first began offering Internet feeds of about 12 Birmingham area traffic cameras in spring 2006, with efforts under way since then to expand the service in Birmingham and to add feeds of traffic cameras in Mobile. These camera feeds are available on the ALDOT web site, www.dot.state.al.us. The new feature went online Thursday, June 19. In the Birmingham area, ALDOT had increased the number of cameras since spring 2006 up to 17. The expansion of the service now provides public views from 53 cameras along interstate and other major routes. In Mobile, there are 71 cameras available through the ALDOT web site. This online feature is an extension of ALDOT’s commitment to share traffic information with public safety agencies, TV stations and the general public. About half the departments of transportation in the Unites States have online traffic cameras, but fewer than a dozen offer streaming video like ALDOT. “Technology is allowing us to monitor and manage traffic in new ways, and it’s only natural that we use this technology to provide additional information to the public,” said Transportation Director Joe McInnes. “We take our mission seriously to be accountable and responsive to the taxpayers, and this is an important part of our efforts to provide a safe, efficient transportation network for the people of Alabama.” In addition to expanded access to camera feeds, ALDOT’s web site now allows users to pick cameras for certain interstates or highways using navigation tabs or an interactive map. ### Tony W. Harris Special Assistant to the Transportation Director Governmental Relations Manager ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Montgomery, Alabama (334) 242-6552 Office (334) 262-8041 Fax [email protected] E-mail www.dot.state.al.us Internet

ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 2, 2008

Message Boards Relay Travel Times to Birmingham Motorists BIRMINGHAM, September 2, 2008 – The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) officially launched today the system that communicates estimated travel times to drivers via dynamic message boards. The five message boards, which are located along a 33-mile stretch of I-65 between US-31 in Alabaster (Exit 238) and Walkers Chapel Road in Fultondale (Exit 267), will alert drivers of expected travel times 24/7. ALDOTs Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS): Travel-Time Information Service is the first in the state to provide near-real-time travel information to the Department’s engineers, ITS stakeholders and the traveling public. “We are pleased to provide this value-added service for travelers in the Birmingham area,” said ALDOT Director Joe McInnes. “We have made this a priority and have been committed to enhancing our capabilities to provide beneficial information to the public and to maximize the taxpayers’ investment in our overhead message boards in Jefferson and Shelby counties.” Traffic data is acquired using vehicle probe technology including data received from fleet systems using GPS monitoring. This information is then transmitted to the ALDOT Traffic Management Center in Birmingham where travel times are computed and routed to the message boards for display to motorists. The cost of the project, which began in December 2007, is approximately $350,000. “This new service provides a more cohesive system to help us manage traffic and we are working to achieve further enhancements,” added McInnes. Long-term goals of the project include expansion to the entire Birmingham Metro Area and to assist emergency responders in better navigating highway incidents, storm damage, hurricane evacuation, rescue operations, and many other types of emergencies. ### Rebecca Leigh White Information Specialist ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Montgomery, Alabama (334) 353-6554 Office (334) 353-6454 Fax [email protected]

ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 9, 2008

Diminished Fuel Taxes Causes Rationing of Federal Funding MONTGOMERY – In response to Friday’s announcement from U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters that the National Highway Trust Fund was in dire financial straits, Alabama Transportation Director Joe McInnes on Tuesday said Alabama will likely reduce project lettings beginning in November unless Congress approves $8 billion in additional transportation funding for the states. Peters on Friday said the decline in federal gas tax revenue so far this year has caused a funding shortfall to the National Highway Trust Fund sooner than expected, meaning states will receive less money until funding is secured by Congress. Federal officials have been warning for more than two years that revenue collections for the National Highway Trust Fund were not keeping pace with the nation’s transportation needs. “This has been expected for some time, but we didn’t anticipate it happening this soon,” McInnes said in response to Friday’s announcement. Peters directed the Federal Highway Administration to take immediate steps to protect solvency of the National Highway Trust Fund by reducing each state’s monthly highway funding until additional funds are approved by Congress. About 80 percent of the cost for Alabama’s federal-aid highway projects comes from federal funds, with the remainder coming from state funds. ALDOT builds and maintains the state, U.S. and interstate highways and bridges that carry more than 80 percent of all traffic in Alabama. A prolonged funding shortfall would affect planned road and bridge projects, and would negatively impact Alabama’s roadbuilding workforce, contractors and material suppliers. Beginning Sept. 11, 2008, regular monthly reimbursements to Alabama and other states will be pro-rated based on available funds. Currently, Alabama receives about $50 million monthly in federal funds. If Congress does not pass pending legislation to provide $8 billion to the National Highway Trust Fund, future road projects in Alabama and across the nation will be affected by delays or even project cancellations. “Project lettings through October are on a firm basis, but after that we’ll have to carefully evaluate what we can let and when,” McInnes said. ### Rebecca Leigh White Information Specialist ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Montgomery, Alabama (334) 353-6554 Office (334) 353-6454 Fax [email protected]

ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 29, 2008

MEDIA ALERT Media Invited to Tour Wallace Tunnel WHY:

How close did we come to losing all transportation arteries across Mobile Bay when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005? About 10 inches. With the Bankhead Tunnel closed due to flooding and the Cochrane Bridge becoming disabled from an oil-rig mishap, the only efficient route to get vital supplies to the hardest hit areas was the Wallace Tunnel. And, when the system that pumps water from the entrance & mid point of the tunnel suddenly failed, that final passageway was in severe jeopardy. The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) was forced to close one lane in each direction so that fire trucks could pump out the water. If the flood water had risen another ten inches, the entire tunnel would have had to be closed. Since that time, ALDOT has spent $800,000 to upgrade the pumping system and its technology.

WHO:

The Alabama Department if Transportation

WHAT:

Tours of Wallace Tunnel for local news media, hosted by an ALDOT official who experienced the Hurricane Katrina near disaster.

WHEN:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008, by appointment only.

WHERE:

ALDOT Central Management Office (next to Austil) 150 Dunlap Drive Mobile, AL 36601

HOW:

Please call Nick Amberger, ALDOT Ninth Division at 251-470-8230 to make your tour reservation. Should you have any special coverage requests, please ask in advance and we will do our best to accommodate you. ###

ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 9, 2008

A ZERO TRAFFIC FATALITIES DAY SET FOR ALABAMA MONTGOMERY, AL – “Drive as if Your Life Depends on It”, is the theme of this year’s annual Put The Brakes On Fatalities, campaign, Friday, October 10th, a day recognized nationally to encourage safer driving in America. Governor Bob Riley has issued a proclamation declaring October 10th, as Put The Brakes On Fatalities Day in Alabama. The Alabama Department of Transportation, Department of Public Safety, Department of Public Health and MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) are calling on the driving public to do everything they can on this day to achieve “0” fatalities on our highways. ALDOT Director Joe McInnes said, “I will continue to work to improve our roads and increase safety on our highways. But the best thing Alabama drivers can do to keep safe is to buckle up, drive safely and never drive under the influence.” Every day motor vehicle crashes cause an average of 118 fatalities totaling more than 43,000 each year. That is enough to fill half a football stadium at a large university on a Saturday afternoon. In Alabama, nearly 3 people are killed every day in traffic related crashes according to statistics from the state transportation department. The campaign goal is to unite the country in achieving one full day of zero traffic deaths by encouraging safer roadway behavior. It is a known fact that motor vehicle fatalities are the leading cause of death for all Americans from 6 to 33 years old. Norman Lumpkin Public Affairs Bureau Chief Alabama Department of Transportation Montgomery, AL (334) 242-6640 Office (334) 353-6542 Fax [email protected]

“Every 13 minutes, another family loses a loved one”, Imagine a Day with Zero Traffic Fatalities. Here’s what drivers can do to be pro-active: •

Drive as if your life depends on it.



Buckle up, every time, every trip, every day. It’s the law in Alabama.



Use proper-installed child safety seats for children 8 and under. 40 to 50% of kids ages 4 to 8 in fatal crashes are totally unrestrained.

• Drive responsibly and courteously rather than with dangerous disregard and recklessness. •

Slow down to all posted speed limits in construction zones and school zones.



Keep vehicles and tires properly maintained.



Wear an appropriate helmet when bicycling, skating or riding a motorcycle or scooter.



Always stop and look left, right, left before crossing streets.



Do not drive drowsy. Falling asleep while driving causes at least 100,000 auto crashes, 40,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities every year.

Check out the NHTSA Web Site at www.nhtsa.dot.gov for vehicle safety ratings.

ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 14, 2008

ALDOT Kicks Off Effort to Save Alabama’s Red-Bellied Turtle SPANISH FORT, Ala. – Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) Director, Joe McInnes today christened the 3.4 mile, low-barrier fence along both sides of the Mobile Bay Causeway designed to significantly reduce fatalities of the Alabama red-bellied turtle. “I’m very proud to say that ALDOT funded and built the new portion of the fencing that is concentrated at key points on the highway including along the Blakely and Apalachee Rivers, as well as Chacaloochee Bay,” said McInnes. Dr. David Nelson, of the University of South Alabama’s department of biological sciences, said the fence is already working. He noted that from 2001 to 2007, a study conducted by U.S.A. found 553 red-bellied turtles had been killed by motorists on the highway. Of these, 116 were females, many with eggs. Dr. Nelson noted that female turtles require as much as 15 years to reach maturity and the continued loss of 20 mothers annually would eventually cripple this already endangered species. This year, he reports only nine adult female mortalities. During that same period, there were 94 reported hatchlings killed on the highway. Last spring that number was reduced to 19. The Alabama red-bellied turtle is in three coastal counties, two in Alabama and one in Mississippi. - more -

McInnes said the effort to protect the red-bellied turtle, the state’s official reptile, has been a true partnership. “ALDOT and U.S.A. were joined by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries and Lands Divisions, as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy,” he said. To alert motorists of the turtle’s activities McInnes announced banners would be hung at various points of the fencing during hatching and nesting seasons. Females nest from April to early August with a peak in July, leaving their aquatic environment to lay their eggs on dry land. Nests are concentrated in openings or sparsely vegetated areas near levees, roadsides, river banks or dredge spoil sites. New born turtles may emerge in the fall, primarily October to November, or over-winter in the nest to emerge in March and April. The most dangerous and alarming threat a turtle faces is being run over by motorists while crossing the Causeway or other roads. In addition, fish crows, raccoons and feral swine feed on the eggs of the turtle nest. The young turtles are preyed upon by alligators, snakes, large fish and wading birds. McInnes pointed to several ways the public can help ALDOT’s effort to save the endangered and sparse population of Alabama’s red-bellied turtles. These include: o Be aware of nesting and hatching habits and times. o Slow down when approaching habitat areas and brake safely for turtles in the road. o Purchase an Alabama Wildlife Heritage license for $10 to help in the fight to restore the turtle and other threatened wildlife species. These can be obtained by visiting www.outdooralabama.com. ### Rebecca Leigh White Information Specialist ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Montgomery, Alabama (334) 353-6554 Office (334) 353-6454 Fax [email protected]

ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 21, 2008

ALDOT Promotes Teen Driver Safety Week with Pilot Project MONTGOMERY, Ala. – As part of national Teen Driver Safety Week, the Alabama Department of Transportation today announced that it will conduct a pilot project to measure and promote teen driver safety, an emphasis area in ALDOT’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan. During the next several months, students at three area high schools will participate in this project through online surveys designed to identify their driving habits. Gov. Bob Riley recently declared October 19-25, 2008, as Teen Driver Safety Week in Alabama, and said more needs to be done to reduce the number of teen deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes. “We must do more to teach our young people safe driving habits and encourage them to use good judgment when they’re behind the wheel or a passenger in a vehicle,” said Gov. Riley. “One life lost on an Alabama highway is one too many, and when it’s a young person with their whole life ahead of them, it’s even more tragic.” In 2007, 155 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 were killed in crashes in Alabama. Many of the crashes were the result of risky driving behaviors such as speeding, distractions, and using cell phones or texting. “We must increase our efforts to inform Alabama’s young people about the actions that can contribute to hazardous driving,” said Transportation Director Joe McInnes. “Identifying risky teen driving behaviors will help us learn how to share safe driving habits in a way they will understand and hopefully put to use.” The online survey will measure driving habits and behaviors of students in 10th- through 12thgrade. Questions will cover several areas including the use of electronic devices while driving, seat belt use, driving confidence and distractions. The data collected will be used to develop an education and information campaign that seeks to improve teen driving habits. Students from Marbury High School in the Autauga County School System, Wetumpka High School in the Elmore County School System and Lanier High School in the Montgomery County School System will be asked to participate in two voluntary surveys – the first this fall to establish baseline data and the second in the spring to measure post-campaign results. Participating schools and students are eligible for rewards and prizes. ALDOT’s partners in the project include the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Autauga, Elmore and Montgomery County school systems, the Alabama Department of Education, and national sponsors State Farm Insurance, the Center for Research Injury and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Ford Motor Co. - more -

Federal legislation enacted in 2005 requires each state to develop a Strategic Highway Safety Plan. The five areas addressed in ALDOT’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan are Emergency Medical Service, Legislation, Older and At-Risk Drivers, Risky Driving and Run-Off-the-Road Crashes. For information on Teen Driver Safety Week, visit ALDOT’s Web site at www.dot.state.al.us. ### For more information, contact: Rebecca Leigh White Public Affairs Bureau Montgomery, Alabama (334) 353-6554 Office (334) 353-6454 Fax [email protected]

ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 12, 2008

ALDOT Announces Completion of New Hurricane Evacuation Route FLOMATON, Ala. – Gov. Bob Riley and Transportation Director Joe McInnes today joined local officials from Florida and Alabama to dedicate State Highway 113 as Alabama’s newest major Hurricane Evacuation Route. The event, held at Little Escambia Baptist Church in Flomaton, signals the completion of the $22.7 million project that now provides a seamless fourlane thoroughfare from Escambia County, Florida, to Interstate 65 in Escambia County, Alabama. The project included widening State Highway 113 from U.S. Highway 31 in Flomaton to I-65 at Exit 69, converting the 13.5-mile stretch of two-lane highway into a four-lane, divided highway. “This is a great example of communities working together, across borderlines, to get something positive done for their citizens,” said Governor Riley. “It’s a win-win for everybody. During hurricanes, people will have an easier time getting out of harm’s way, and this newly four-laned corridor will be more attractive to business and industry.” “We continue to make real progress on closing gaps in Alabama’s transportation network,” McInnes said. “This newly completed four-lane connecting Flomaton and a large part of south Alabama and the Florida panhandle to I-65, will not only provide an additional safe hurricane evacuation route, but will also open a new growth corridor that could boost regional economic development opportunities.” Construction on the project by contractor Grady Ralls and Sons Inc. of Evergreen, Alabama, began Sept. 12, 2007. Federal, state and local funds including $500,000 from the town of Flomaton, $500,000 from Escambia County, Alabama, and $4 million from Escambia County, Florida helped fund the project. Two new lanes were constructed as well as a new four-span, 204-foot bridge to accommodate northbound traffic. The project originally slated for completion in December 2008, came in ahead of schedule. ###

CONTACT: Rebecca Leigh White Information Specialist ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Montgomery, Alabama (334) 353-6554 Office (334) 353-6454 Fax [email protected]

ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Nov. 23, 2009

ALDOT Urges Motorists to Buckle Up and Stay Safe This Thanksgiving MONTGOMERY – Highway travel during the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday week is expected to be heavy in Alabama as families pile into their cars and head off for holiday destinations. But there’s one sure recipe that can turn a joyful holiday into a tragedy: failure to buckle up. As an added precaution during the heavily travelled holiday, Alabama Department of Transportation Director Joe McInnes announced there will be no road construction on Alabama interstates beginning at 12 noon, Wednesday, Nov. 25, through midnight, Sunday, Nov. 29. Emergency lane closures may be possible dependant on specific circumstances on interstates and other state roadways. “Limiting construction during higher traffic volumes helps ensure safer conditions for the travelling public, construction industry workers and our maintenance crews,” said McInnes. “I urge everyone driving on our state’s highways this holiday to drive carefully, don’t drive impaired and, most important, buckle up each and every trip.” Nationally during the Thanksgiving holiday period in 2008 (which ran from 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 26, to 5:59 a.m., Monday, December 1), there were 389 fatalities from traffic crashes. In Alabama, 10 people were killed during the 2008 Thanksgiving holiday period. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. Research has shown that when lap and shoulder belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent. For more information about highway safety during Thanksgiving, please visit www.dot.state.al.us or www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov. ### CONTACT: Rebecca Leigh White ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Communications & Community Relations Bureau Montgomery, Alabama 334-353-6534 Office 334-262-2677 Fax [email protected]