Traffic study shows Balch Road can handle more cars

WAAY 31 did some digging to find out how many cars Balch Road can handle after a developer released plans for a new apartment complex.

Posted: Jun 7, 2019 11:44 PM

Proposed new housing developments ad existing traffic headaches on Balch Road north of Highway 72 has homeowners concerned about their safety.

WAAY 31 did some digging to find out just how bad traffic congestion is and if there are any plans to widen the road after a developer announced their plans this week to build apartments on the road.

The most recent traffic study for Balch Road Between Highway 72 and Capshaw Road, done in February 2019, showed 8,200 cars drive on it during a single day. The City of Huntsville told WAAY 31 the capacity of the road is 14,000.

With several new housing developments in the works, or breaking ground, people around the are concerned. William Noel lives in a housing development just off of Balch Road. Right now, he said traffic can be hectic, depending on the time of day, "if I leave 5 after 7 in the morning I'll be 1,2,3 in the turn lane to get onto highway 72. If I'm 15 after I'll be a half mile back," said Noel.

The proposed apartment complex near Noel's house and a townhome development south of his home are making him second-guess living in the area, "that may be incentive for me to move," said Noel.

The County Commissioner for the area, Phil Vandiver, told WAAY 31 he knows about the traffic issues on Balch road, but other problem streets, like Wall Triana Highway and Capshaw Road, are taking priority because they have even more cars using them daily.

He said roads in the area weren't built to handle the growth madison county is seeing, "tax revenue coming in for the county is not sufficient enough to plan and make plans for the future. We have to have help from the state and that's not regularly done," said Vandiver.

Vandiver would like to see new gas tax money from the state come to Madison County to help widen roads and also fix and improve other infrastructure, "I think it's a mixture that we're going to work with to try and come up with the right direction to go," said Vandiver.

Noel would like to see things go in the direction of widening Balch Road, "if we're going to have that much development on Balch Road it needs to be five laned," said Noel.

The Huntsville Metropolitan Planning Organization has a list of all upcoming road projects for our area. This stretch of Balch Road is not scheduled for widening until 2024 at a cost of $4 million.

On their website it does not say who will pay for the road, but we do know some of Balch Road is in Huntsville and the rest is in Madison County.

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