Alabama Facts• In 2007; the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the
current backlog of unfunded but needed road, highway and bridge
repairs and improvements is currently $461 billion.
• Alabama needs $4.3 billion dollars to complete transportation
• U.S. 431 in Russell County has been ranked one of the 40 most
dangerous roads in the world.
• According to Georgia Tech, Southeast rural 2-lane roads are the
deadliest in the nation.
• Alabama is #1 for highway fatalities caused by speeding; #9 for
deaths caused by DUI, and #9 for having overall the deadliest
• Alabama is second only to Mississippi for the most teen driving
• Alabama only has one truck weigh station. Heavy trucks not being
restricted tear up Alabama’s roads. Truck traffic will increase 28%
• In 63 % of car crashes investigated by State Troopers; people were
not buckled up.
• 23 % of roads in Alabama are in poor or mediocre condition; it’s
47% in Montgomery.
• 11 % of Alabama’s bridges are structurally deficient, showing
significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports, or other
major components. An additional 13% of Alabama bridges are
• Drivers are the other factor creating dangerous roads, such as
distractions from cell phones, driving slow in the left lane, and
driving too slow and holding up many cars.
• Driving on roads in need of repair costs Alabama motorists $836
million a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs – $230
• 38% of Alabama’s urban highways are congested.
• Vehicle travel on Alabama’s highways increased by 41 percent from
1990 to 2005.
• Motor vehicle crashes cost Alabama $2.8 billion per year, $627 for
each resident, in medical costs, lost productivity, travel delays,
workplace costs, insurance costs and legal costs.
• A total of 5,315 people died on Alabama’s highways from 2001
• In Alabama, 48 percent of major roads, excluding the Interstates,
are two lanes.
What we want to do?
funding for roads
skills and alertness
while in car
Repair roads and
No lights on 65 mph
New route sign color
Clean up DOT and
U.S. 280 is a major 4-lane corridor that runs
from Birmingham to Columbus, GA and on into
Georgia. 280 was mostly a 2-lane road that was
very dangerous and was 4-laned in late 2000’s.
U.S. 280 has grown into a 4-lane cogged
corridor with dangerous intersections that
have killed many, and many traffic lights that
slow down commerce and grow yearly.
Solve the Problem
U.S. 280 has suffocated cities
along the route with lost jobs and
the road is holding back growth.
We need to remove signals and
upgrade to interchanges to create
high tech growth.
Public Perception of ALDOT
• Many people feel contracts are too high and someone
is getting a “kickback”.
• ALDOT has had environmental lawsuits filed against
them against U.S. 98 in Mobile County.
• Some people feels it takes too long for ALDOT to
study the improvement of a road.
• Past corruption within ALDOT has sent some
employees to prison.
• Using political favors for road projects is a corrupt
practice that needs to end.
• Some people also feel that the Alabama Road Builders
Association (Road PAC) bribes and gives money to
politicians to vote a certain way for a road project.
Alabama Funding Problem
In some work zone projects in Alabama, there are signs put up before
the work zone that tells you how much taxpayer money it costs to
repair or build a new road or bridge. As you can see in the pictures
above almost all the funding in this work zone is from federal funding.
Why is there hardly any state funding?
It Takes Too Long
Bridges are often
in service for
years beyond it’s
Roads are often
in service for
years beyond it’s
We Need a Good Road System
• A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion
invested in highway construction would support 27,800 jobs. Another 14,000 jobs would
be created outside of the construction sector.
• The USDOT also found that every dollar invested in the nation’s highway system yields
$5.40 in economic benefits in reduced delays, improved safety and lower vehicle
• Traffic congestion costs American motorists $63.1 billion a year in wasted time and fuel
costs. Americans spend 3.7 billion hours a year stuck in traffic.
• Vehicle travel on America’s highways increased by 39 percent from 1990 to 2005, while
new road mileage increased by only four percent. The nation’s population grew by 19
percent during that period.
• A good system of roads helps in the growth of trade and other economic activities all
over the country.
• Roads are essential for the economic development of a country. For speedy
transportation of commodities a good network of roads is essential.
• During emergencies such as accidents, the injured person can be rushed immediately to a
hospital through a good system of roads. In such cases only a sufferer can understand the
value of good system of roads.
• A good network of roads enables villagers to transport their commodities to the market
speedily and easily.
• According to a study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration, $100 million
spent on highway safety improvements will save 145 lives over a 10-year period.
Alabama Gas Tax
Alabama charges 16¢ a gallon on gas (19¢ diesel) on a gallon of gas. The problem
is cars are getting more fuel efficient and costs to build and repave roads are
going higher. Do you notice that part of the gas tax goes to things other than
roads and does not include mass transit?
Auburn Opelika News
Cities can pass a tax increase by city council vote. But
counties must get legislative approval to pass a tax
increase. This ties up business during the legislative
• ALDOT estimates that from 2008 to 2017,
approximately $16.2 billion is needed to allow the state
to significantly improve road and bridge conditions,
make reasonable roadway safety improvements and
address needed traffic congestion relief.
• According to ALDOT estimates, anticipated funding
levels from 2008 to 2017 will be only $9.3 billion. As a
result, needed highway improvement and maintenance
projects will not be able to move forward without
additional transportation funding.
• The estimated costs, according to the date, to repair
rural roads in each county is staggering. For example,
in Marengo County it would cost $50.5 million to
resurface all paved roads.
Solve the Funding Problem
• Besides the possible loss of federal money, the department took a $63 million hit this year when the Legislature
moved $35 million to the state courts and $28 million to the state troopers.
• The stark reality of federal debt reduction for Alabama road building is the possible loss of $200 million that
could stop construction of new roads.
• If we lose $200 million out of $1 billion that we have some discretion over, it will kill our capacity projects
because it will take every penny we have to maintain the roads we have.
• If congress fails to pass a transportation bill, the federal gas tax will expire which will put a huge strain on
One option is to use a
mileage based tax using a
gps system. It will not
work, people will not want
to be tracked.
One option is to use
more toll roads. Hard to
do because we are used
to free roads and the
device to pay toll,
One option is to levy a
percentage tax on crude oil and
imported refined petroleum
products. Hard to do with
more car efficient standards
and using less oil.
One option is to us a Vignette
(road tax) sticker you buy every
year when you renew your tag.
Hard to do because people forget
to do things.
We need to form a commission of road builders, DOT officials, government
officials, business officials, and average citizens to come up with ways to
come up with new ways to fund our highways.
Road Building Costs
The Birmingham Northern Beltline
costs to build has soared to around
$4.7 Billion. Up from $3.4 Billion in
late 2009. That equals to around
$90 million per mile to build.
For a typical local roadway about $30 per
square yard is a good approximation,
including sub base, base course, surface
and friction courses.
The average cost to build a three-lane
collector road is $3.2 million, about
$100,000 per mile. The fact people are
driving less because of higher gas prices
means the city is getting about
$200,000 less in gas tax money for road
repairs from the state, compared to $1
million last year.
Things Are So Bad
Cities like Alexander City are repaving roads with tar and gravel.
Bring Down Costs
Offer incentives for finishing road construction
projects early and penalties for finishing late.
Recycle old concrete and asphalt into
new road construction and use new
technology in road building to reduce
governments to build
roads with less costs
and tax breaks.Enable mass transit reform using
smaller buses, trains, and bike
lanes to reduce the need to
Have a conference
involving road builders and
government officials to
come up with ideas to
Enable funding reforms
in state and federal
governments to give out
funding in fair amounts
to all projects.
• We must streamline road construction
companies to include stricter standards for
completing projects on time.
• Include bonus for finishing projects ahead of
• Include penalty for finishing projects after
the contract expires.
• After a certain amount of late finishes, the
company can not bid a project for one year.
• There have been numerous delays in building a new
road in the State of Alabama.
• It should not take 5-10 years to build a road, so we
need to find ways to speed up construction of a new
Has been under
May 2006. It was
finished in 2013.
It took over 40+ years
to 4-lane the entire
All State Conference
• Dot Director and Governor official
• Three people from road building companies
• Four people from mayors of cities or county
• Two people from news media
• Two people from trucking industry
• Two average citizens, great knowledge of
roads(example would be daily commuters).
I would do a conference involving several parties to come together to save
money, restructure ALDOT, and build better roads in the state. (15 people)
Created by state legislature to reform ALDOT and process money is handed out
for road maintaining and road building.
Stop the Road Building
• I would propose a moratorium stopping any new road building in
the state until we can solve the road funding and construction
• The 2009 issue of The Report Card for America’s
Infrastructure graded the nation's critical infrastructure systems a
"D" and noted a five-year investment need of $2.2 trillion.
-American Society of Civil Engineers
Bridge was closed because of
cracks in the steel in Sept.
2011. The bridge carries an
estimated 80,000 vehicles
Collapsed in 2007 killing 13
and injuring 145. The failure
was blamed on a design flaw
and heavy weight on the
The Tunnel in Mobile, AL is Alabama’s top choke
point and one of the top choke points on the
interstate system. There are plans for a new wider
bridge but some residents are fighting the bridge
plans for no alternative.
George Wallace TunnelLouisville,
• Alabama has only one truck weigh station on I-20
near Heflin. Alabama has some weigh in motion
sensors around the state but you can not see if
the truck has non secured equipment or broken
• Alabama also has a problem with truck parking
around the state. There are limited parking
spots for trucks and it forces truckers to park on
• I-20 between Atlanta and Birmingham has some
of the highest truck traffic volumes in the
country and is projects to grow much more by
Put permanent weigh
station at each major
entrance into the state.
Continue to use weigh in
motion scales in random
Use State Troopers to use
Use pre-pass in trucks to
bypass certain trucks to
lower truck traffic at
Let weigh stations allow
drivers to park to allow
drivers to get their
mandatory 10 hour rest.
• Alabama has rest areas spaced along interstates
and some major highways across the state
• Some places like I-20 and I-22 need a rest area.
• Rest areas need to expand truck parking to
accommodate additional parking.
• Welcome centers need to be updated with
technology. One is needed on I-22.
• Rest areas are being closed due to lack and funds
and no way to earn income. If there are not
adequate rest areas, drivers have no place to
stop and rest. This creates a dangerous problem
by creating sleepy drivers.
Reform Rest Areas
• Rest Areas need extra truck
• Rest Areas could be converted
to service areas such as toll
roads that provide services
without getting off the
highway. This requires an act
• New technology needs to be
used for traffic info., weather,
construction, and any other
information needed for travel.
• Provide refreshment for
drivers so they would not fall
asleep in front of wheel.
• Rest areas and welcome
centers need to provide free
• ALDOT would create a Facebook page to
update on projects, alerts and news.
• ALDOT would create 5 separate Twitter
pages based on regions (Huntsville,
Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, SE
Alabama) that people can subscribe to
receive traffic alerts and news.
• ALDOT would create a YouTube page
highlighting news and projects.
• ALDOT would create a blog highlighting news
Go Around in Community
• ALDOT could create a character (mascot)
that would visit schools and community
events to highlight ALDOT and state
• Start a state wide contest to let people
design and then choose a winner.
• The character would create positive thinking
about ALDOT in a statewide view that
currently feels that ALDOT is a corrupt
Examine State Highways
Monsanto Rd in Marshall County
is a 4-lane 65 mph speed limit
road that dead ends 2 ½ miles
down the road.
In Marshall County is a wide
3-lane road with little
In Butler County, AL it
dead ends in the
middle of nowhere.
Reexamine State Highways
• All state highways can not
end at county lines and
• State highways can only
end at other state
highways, cities, or state
• All highways with an
temporary end like AL-145
must be connected to a
• Reexamine low traffic
count highways to see if
they need to be
State route sign
• Several states have
ditched a black and
white shield for a color
theme route shield.
• The Birmingham Metro is
having a problem having
rows of interstate lights
out at night.
• ALDOT would be required
to fix and/or replace
broken interstate lights
within a time period.
Retire the Shield
Each shield has its own color scheme,
while the state cannot change a
federal shield we can change the
state shield to a color scheme that is
not used by another shield.
I would propose a contest where
everybody in the state can submit a
new design (2 color design) for the
state route shield. School kids would
be able to draw a design and people
could upload to the internet or mail in
their design and the top 10 would be
The top 10 would be
voted on by the
public by internet or
mail and a statewide
The winner would get
a money award plus
the first shield made.
New City Route
A new route shield would be developed that would allow cities an
option to sign busy city streets with a route shield to make streets
easier to find and directions easier for people.
In this map of Oxford, AL the
streets highlighted would
receive a route shield, only
streets that have high traffic
amounts and allow trucks
would get a route shield. Only
numbers not used within a 25-
mile radius could be used.
Interstate Business Loops
• Allow communities along a interstate to
let ALDOT sign a business loop that goes
through a downtown between two exits.
Cities like Heflin,
Greenville, Fort Payne
and others would be
allowed if they decide to
sign a business route
along existing state
• Many people have concerns
that the website is not in
best interest of travelers,
and that it is only for
• Reform website with a
traveler mind in view. With
traffic info, road closed
info, pictures, and traffic
• Have a separate section for
ALDOT info. Include
• Have a social media
presence with Facebook,
Twitter, You Tube, and a
Start Up 511
• Alabama needs to start up the
• 511 is a free call that informs
you about traffic and weather
info anywhere in a state.
• Most states have started the 511
program with great success.
• Signs would be placed
throughout the state that would
inform travelers of the program.
• It would save people money by
allowing them to avoid in traffic
Technology on Roads
• Birmingham message boards have been criticized since the first ones were erected in
2001. They never worked properly.
• In 2003, ALDOT Director Joe McInnes ordered the malfunctioning boards taken down and
Urban areas would use
Rural areas would use
New signs being used in
Washington State use
symbols and speed limits
updated for traffic jams and
highways would monitor
traffic and if traffic
jams or wrecks are
spotted signs can be
changed to alert
Technology on Roads
• Travelers and Commuters could log on to a website or
use their smart phone app to get up to date traffic
speed, can view roadway cameras, and can read the
latest info. on variable message signs. You could also
get Twitter alerts of traffic accidents and backups.
Indiana DOT uses a map with traffic
speed and camera images on the
Georgia DOT puts message
signs on its website for
travelers to read.
• On the April 27th tornado outbreak. Some travelers were
unaware a huge tornado was heading toward them. Some
travelers died in their cars on that day.
• During winter weather events; travelers need to know what
is open and closed to ensure safe travel.
Placed along highways;
travelers would know what
stations would cover long form
tornado warnings from a TV
station or their own coverage.
Only stations that does this
would be listed on sign.
Inform travelers where a
tornado shelter is
located to take shelter
and get off the road.
Many out of state
travelers listen to
satellite radio which
provides no local
weather alerts. Cell
phone alerts could be
used to alert travelers
Speed Limit Abuse
• Some towns in Alabama artificially set the speed limit
below the road design standard to create ticket
Speed limit goes to 45 mph but
you look above and there’s
nothing there to make traffic go
slower. (It has been changed)
Speed limit was set to
55 mph due to some
one getting killed by
bad condition of road.
Laws would be passed that would prevent cities and counties to set low
speed limits for ticket revenue. Speed Limit would be set to what is
around the area (neighborhoods or road design.)
Traffic / Caution Lights
Replace all traffic lights
with ones painted black
Replace all traffic lights
with dimmed signals
Repair traffic signal
sensors when broken
All traffic light intersections
must have two signals / each
Increase number of
caution lights at
intersections with them
No traffic lights on 65
mph 4-lane highways
Reporting Highway Problems
• ALDOT would set up a toll-free phone
number and a easy to use website to allow
citizens to report a road problem.
• Examples would be potholes, fallen down
signs, traffic signal sensor loops broken,
overhead lights out, grass too tall on side of
road, shrubs to close to road, and more.
• ALDOT could also develop a cell phone app
that would allow people to report a road
• From a constitutional amendment from 1952. There is no funding
from the state of Alabama that is earmarked for mass transit. It
leaves cities and counties to fund mass transit.
• Not everyone can afford or is not able to own a car for
transportation. With spotty mass transit, it is hard to go to work,
go to a doctor appt., or to do anything requiring travel.
• With hardly any funding, the mass transit in Birmingham has
trouble keeping on schedule with broken down buses and routes.
• Part of mass transit would construct more HOV lanes and bike
lanes that would lower traffic counts. With the amount of people
increasing to commute to work every day and no extra roads being
built, we need to encourage people to use alternative ways of
transportation to get where they need to go.
• ALDOT, the legislature, and local governments would find ways to
fund mass transit. (buses, light rail, bike lanes, etc.) that would
give people an option to not use a car when going out.
• Driver distractions are the leading cause of most vehicle crashes
• According to a study released by the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation
Institute (VTTI), 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involve
some form of driver distraction. The distraction occurred within
three seconds before the vehicle crash!
Pass a law like the city of Scottsboro, AL did
in 2011. Called a distracted driving
ordinance; it would let police pull over a
driver for being dangerous on the road
while being distracted for anything while
driving like eating, texting, talking on cell
Some new Laws
• Some laws are needed to make roads safer
and to move people and products faster.
• With more people on our roads and our
highways not being widened. Smart laws
are needed to make the drivers safer.
Require all cars to be in the
right lane with any road with
2 passing lanes or more.
Only get in left lane to pass
or to turn left.
Require slow cars going 10+
below the speed limit and
holding up over 3 cars to pull
over at the next available area
to let the cars go ahead of you.
• Cities across the country are passing laws requiring new streets to be
• Creating complete streets means transportation agencies must change
their approach to community roads. By adopting a Complete Streets
policy, communities direct their transportation planners and engineers
to routinely design and operate the entire right of way to enable safe
access for all users.
• Complete streets would include bike lanes, bike paths, sidewalks for
pedestrians, frequent and safe crossings, narrow travel lanes to slow down
drivers, roundabouts, areas for mass transit, and many more things.
Don’t Destroy Scenic Routes
ALDOT must do the right thing and not
destroy scenic routes like mountain road
and US 431 in Eufaula, just to get people do
their destination faster!
Inform travelers where a
tornado shelter is located to
take shelter and get off the
road in severe weather.
ALDOT could also set up text
alerts warning travelers who
sign up of incoming severe
Message signs need to be placed along major highways all
around the state (not just in cities) to alert travelers to get off
the road in bad and severe weather.
Many travelers and truckers listen to satellite radio while traveling. They provide NO
alerts to severe weather. Plus out of state travelers have no idea which local radio
station to tune to in a event of severe weather.
Placed along highways throughout the
state travelers would know which radio
stations in their area cover severe
weather from a TV station or provide
their own coverage during a major
severe weather event.
Only radio stations that do a hourly weather
update and stay on the air during the entire
severe weather warning in their area can be
placed on the sign.
Alabamians for better roads
On the April 27 tornado outbreak. Around 250 people were killed.
Some were killed while traveling which we can prevent.
Alert Travelers to Bad Weather
14 facts about Redo AL’S Roads
Remove all signals on
65 M.P.H. stretches and
interchanges. Come up with new ideas for
state funding to replace
aging roads and bridges and
to maintain current
Stop all attempts to toll
the entire Interstate
system in Alabama. Help provide safety info.
to travelers in Alabama.
trucking laws and
safety areas for
Enact design changes to
make Alabama roads and
Examine ALDOT and make
changes to streamline state
Redesign state highway
Stop cities in the act of
enforcing too low
speed limits (traps) Enact new laws to make driving
Enact changes to speed up road
construction and road work.
Enact laws to make
Use social media to
inform travelers of road
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About Nathan Young
Thanks for checking me out; Nathan Young is an
experienced writer, blogger, photographer, and
videographer who blogs at Geek Alabama.
Nathan is a big Road, Weather, and News Junkie
Geek and is a great person to be around who is
funny and informative.
Nathan is an accomplished media person who
regularly covers topics on Geek Alabama and
gets numerous requests to cover things
from businesses, products, TV shows, movies,
books, games, food, events, conventions,
concerts, and other reviews. He is open to
speaking, covering products or events, and
representing your brand.
The most interesting fact about me, I draw
roads! #Aspie proud! #ASD
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