HAMILTON — The bell has finally tolled for Hamilton’s First Avenue traffic lights after the Alabama Department of Transportation permanently removed them on Friday, March 17.
Hamilton used yellow caution lights in place of typical traffic lights on the street for a trial run this past month.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page stated, although there were minor issues in the early days of the trial, the success of the new set-up has given the city confidence in allowing ALDOT to take the light down permanently.
“We had people doubting that it would work. When they saw how well it worked, the issues went away,” said Page. “There weren’t any people saying that we shouldn’t do it.
“It was something the state designed for us on a trial basis, and we thought it was working well. So, we gave them our consent when they asked us if they could go ahead and take it down,” Page continued.
Back in May of 2022, Hamilton Mayor Bob Page and the Hamilton City Council voted to take down the stop light on First Avenue in order to alleviate traffic that builds up on Military Street’s main intersection near the Marion County Courthouse.
In August of 2022, the Hamilton City Council made the decision to cover the lights and make First Ave Southeast a one way road.
The light was changed to a blinking yellow caution light in January for the official trail run.
Taking the light down makes First Avenue Southeast a one way road heading east as well as First Avenue Southwest a one way road heading west.
Early in the trial run, Hamilton residents were somewhat confused on what to do at the new caution light, with many stopping their cars believing it to be an indication to slow down before the light turned red.
Residents also mistakenly drove the wrong way down both one-way streets.
“It seems that they’ve figured it out,” said Page. “People were used to stopping in front of two traffic lights in a row. I think the problem is gone now, and it seems to be working really well.”
Page stated, in order to further solve the traffic issue at the main intersection, ALDOT will shorten the traffic light cycle by 18 seconds.
“That should help the flow even more,” said Page.
Page stated the City of Hamilton was only financially responsible for restriping the roads and changing the direction of parking spots on the new one-way streets.
Page stated the cost of the project was only a few hundred dollars for the City of Hamilton.
See complete story in the Journal Record.