Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Huntsville’s I-565 Chapman Mountain Deathtrap

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, March 29, 2010

The Interstate 565 crossing over Chapman Mountain in Huntsville, AL is rapidly becoming a deathtrap.

Yesterday (Sunday, 28 March 2010), 55 year-old Madison county resident Joseph E. Hargrave, driver of an 18-wheeler/BIG TRUCK, lost control of his EAST-BOUND truck, crossed the median and flipped, blocking traffic from 12:40PM until after sundown Sunday.

He was taken to Huntsville Hospital with minor injuries.

That was the blocked lane about which I’d earlier written.

Mr. Hargrave’s unfortunate wreck wasn’t the first BIG TRUCK wreck on that brief stretch of I-565 over Chapman Mountain. Some months ago, a truck loaded with rape seed also lost control on the EAST BOUND lane and overturned, spilling the oily seed over both directions of travel, which was so extraordinarily oily that both lanes of travel required repaving.

The speed limit atop the mountain in the EAST BOUND lane until the bottom of the mountain is 50mph. Trucks are NOT required by law to stay in the right lane, nor are they required to drive at a slower speed.

It’s not as if the roadway is perfect, for it is not.

The WEST BOUND lane just before the Sparkman Drive exit has had, and still has, a long-standing water leak that emerges from under the road bed, which has frozen numerous times in winter. Even during extended dry periods, there is a perpetually moist spot on the roadway. Water leakage from below the road surface combined with traffic, has caused the road to deteriorate, which has been paved over, yet continues to leak.

As well, ALDOT (Alabama Department of Transportation) engineers placed a crossing at the top of the mountain, which is a treacherous, potentially life-threatening (and stoopid) location for allowing crossing traffic.

Huntsville Police Department officers used to patrol the area frequently, even posting radar-equipped patrols specifically to cite drivers exceeding the speed limit. However, now, they do not.

In fact, the entire I-565 stretch through Huntsville is fraught with problems, not the least of which is the unnecessary elevation of segments, its spaghetti-like route, all which are fraught with unnecessary twists and turns. But I’ll write more on that later.

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