Grant To Improve Traffic Systems

Reported and Written by WVUA 23 Reporter Sam Luther

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby announced on March 28 the Department of Transportation has awarded the University of Alabama with $8 million for a traffic project.

The university will be spending $16 million, half of which comes from their own funds and half of which was matched by the Alabama Department of Transportation Grant for traffic improvements. Something Shashi Nambishen says is an obvious need.

“We don’t need a whole lot of research to let us know that we could be a lot better in terms of getting around through the Tuscaloosa area,” Executive Director of the Alabama Transportation Institute Shashi Nambisan said. “People stuck in traffic and people stuck in traffic signals will testify to the need of that.”

This three-year project has Alabama student Christopher Robinson ready for a change.

“Improving the traffic lights especially how they operate is going to really help commuters out here that need to get to work that commute out from Tuscaloosa that commute out from Northport,” Robinson said. “And help me out when I’m getting home from class.”

Along with updated existing resources, this project will include a major technology element, one that could slow down your commute, but only temporarily.

“The $16 million that the grant entails will include some amount of construction we have to lay fiber optic communication cables and install sensors, sensor systems along the road network,” Nambisan said. “So that will mean some amount of construction.”

The new technology will send all information to the ALDOT Traffic Management Center to ensure drivers avoid accidents and heavy traffic as much as possible. Project researcher Alex Heinen believes this project will set Tuscaloosa apart.

“There’s no other community like this in Alabama this is a bright start for this state here and nationally this is a huge presence that we have,” Hainen said. “Alabama DOT has been huge collaborators with us on this effort so we’re glad to work with them.”

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