City Board 2 July 2019: New design proposed for Glenfield traffic

New Albany MS Glenfield traffic proposal
This artist's rendering shows how construction of less than a mile of new roadway could relieve traffic congestion at several points around New Albany.
July 10th, 2019     Government & Politics

A proposed $24-million project to improve vehicle traffic flow in the Glenfield area drew strong interest at the July 2 meeting of the New Albany Board of Aldermen.

Mike Waters, a civil engineer with the Tupelo firm A2H Architects and Engineers, said the Glenfield area project would include a bridge spanning both Highway 178 West and the BNSF railroad tracks.  A2H proposes to build a 4,100 foot long new road, including a 2,700-foot long bridge, to deliver traffic from Sam T. Barkley Drive to existing Munsford Drive.

The net result would be that vehicle traffic could eventually travel from Highway 15 on the northeast side of the city to Interstate 22 on the northwest side of town without encountering a stop at a traffic light.

Waters said that some money may be available from the BUILD Grant program, administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation, that could finance the Glenfield project. He said the deadline for applying for the BUILD Grants is July 15.

If it were built, the proposed new roadway might relieve several traffic congestion problems around the city. It would ultimately create a western “bypass” around New Albany.

  • Among the most pressing current problems is the intersection of Sam T. Barkley Drive and Highway 178 West. Traffic at that intersection is interrupted more than 20 times daily by trains of the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad. (BNSF). There is also a four-way stoplight system at the intersection. Additionally, the intersection of the two roads is a “dog-leg” shape, which further confuses and impedes traffic flow.

Several hundred people work in factories east of that intersection. At high traffic periods, factory workers and residents who need to get through that intersection may have to wait many minutes for the railroad traffic and street traffic to clear. Under the A2H proposal, those vehicles could go directly to Interstate 22 (I-22).

  • More than 20,000 vehicles a day travel past New Albany on Interstate 22. Those who are bound toward Ripley and other destinations north into Tennessee must negotiate numerous traffic lights on northbound Highway 15. The new road would allow truck and automobile traffic from I-22 to exit at Glenfield and enter Highway 15 a few miles north of the city, without encountering a traffic light. Thus, the new route could relieve problems with in-city traffic, especially trailer trucks, on Highway 15.
  • The heavy traffic congestion at the intersection of Highway 30 and I-22 might enjoy some relief. While traffic to and from Oxford on Highway 30 already has the option of taking the four-lane Munsford Drive to I-22, Munsford Drive now dead ends at Highway 78. With the proposed new route, traffic could conveniently continue east from Highway 78 to Highway 15 north. Thereby, those vehicles would avoid the far-too-busy Highway 30-Interstate 22 intersection.

There are many “ifs” in the proposal, the largest one being whether the federal government will agree to furnish the $24-million.

The proposed new route would involve construction of 4,100 feet — .78 miles — of new roadway, of which 2,700 feet would be a bridge crossing Highway 78 and the BNSF tracks. The bridge would pass over existing residential areas, and residents might object. Problems with acquisition of right-of-way could occur.

Waters said that Sam T. Barkley Drive would “eventually need to be widened to four lanes.” Questioned by an reporter after his presentation, Waters said the new 2,700 foot bridge would be only two lanes wide. Could the bridge be widened to four lanes? The answer to that question essentially was, “We hope so.”

The proposal was initiated by the Union County Development Association (UCDA), which is working with A2H.

The city board agreed at its July 2 meeting to furnish $6,000 in funding for professional services, if the federal government comes through with the $24-million BUILD Grant.

Another common complication of Glenfield area traffic: BNSF closes crossing


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From the Community

Jeran Pickens says:

I’m not saying we don’t need this in the future but we don’t need to be discussing ANYTHING until the strip of Highway 30 west between Highway 178 and Starlyn Drive is addressed. The red lights that were added a few years back at the off ramps of I22 onto highway 30 west have made travel across this strip a nightmare. Traffic on this small strip of highway is congested daily during daylight hours, not just when a trains is traveling through town. I have worked at a warehouse located on North Glenfield Road just off of Sam T Barkley. I have worked here for 14 years traveling through the intersection of highway 178 and Sam T Barkley multiple times a day. Although traffic can be congested normally around 12pm, 3pm, and also temporarily while trains are crossing Sam T Barkley. But even during these times the traffic still seems to flow more than traffic on the strip of Highway 30 west between Highway 178 and starlyn drive. Without a doubt something need to be done first and foremost about travel on this strip of highway 30 west. Anyone that travels through the town of New Albany on this short strip of highway 30 west knows how crazy and time consuming the travel across this span of highway 30 west is.

David Brown says:

There needs to be something done with the traffic lights on 30 West. It takes to long to go through them.

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