Locals propose transportation plan

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Gadsden-Etowah Metropolitan Planning Organization member Steve Partridge (pictured on left) and Rod Willburn of Willburn and Associates gather for a photo following a meeting concerning a long range transportation plan on June 24 at Rainbow City Hall. Izack Seahorn/Messenger.

By Izack Seahorn, Staff Correspondent

Steve Partridge of the Gadsden-Etowah Metropolitan Planning Organization and Rod Wilburn of Wilburn and Associates hosted a meeting at Rainbow City Hall on June 24 to discuss the Long Range Transportation Plan.

Managed by GEMPO, the LRTP is a project that addresses local roadway improvement over a 25-year time frame. The plan aims to bring new infrastructure to the Gadsden area with new capacity projects and major facility improvements such as additional turn lanes driving lanes. Partridge and Wilburn noted that it is not a program to fix potholes or resurface and maintain existing roads.

The LRTP has a project list of important goals. At the top of this list is the widening of State Highway 77 in Southside, followed by turning US. Highway 411 into a four-lane road. The list will be updated and the projects worked on every five years with the goal of all of the tasks being completed by 2045. A major outcome of these improvements will be opening up traffic flow in the Gadsden area.

According to data provided at the meeting, GEMPO scales traffic flow in a six-point system:

Free flow. Traffic moves at above or at the speed limit, left turns are easy.

Reasonably free flow. Speed limits are maintained but maneuverability is slightly restricted.

Stable flow. Near free flow but less maneuverability with some left turn delays.

Approaching unstable flow. Speeds become variable, noticeable left turn delays.

Unstable flow. Flow and speed are irregular because there are no gaps in the traffic stream.

Breakdown flow. Lockstep traffic, frequent slowing and long delays.

A number of Gadsden’s major roadways fall into the breakdown flow level of traffic, but with the LRTP improvements, traffic flow will open up.

One of the short-term goals and a priority of GEMPO is to update and improve its website.

“Accessing the MPO website is a little cumbersome and a little hard to find, so we’re looking to redesign our part of it,” said Partridge.

Partridge invited local residents to visit the update website at www.cityofgadsden.com/441/Gadsden-Etowah-MPO, where information concerning the LRTP can be easily accessible to the public.

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