Recent changes to U.S. 278 between St. Bernard Prep School and East Point have left some local drivers confused over the past week.
As part of road work around the city, the Alabama Department of Transportation changed the section of U.S. 278 from a four-lane highway to a three-lane, with the middle lane now a left-turn lane.
When the highway was first changed last week, there were several people who did not realize there is now a turn lane. Some motorists drove like it was still a four-lane, said Cullman Police Capt. J.P. White.
The highway was a four-lane for several decades, so the confusion was understandable, but traffic has flowed a lot smoother this week after the state finished painting lines and added turn arrows in the middle lane, White said.
ALDOT has also added a digital sign warning drivers that the middle lane of the highway has changed.
White said he believes the change to the highway could make things safer for traffic trying to turn left.
Cars previously had to stop in the left lane while trying to turn, causing multiple accidents - including at least one fatality - where people were rear-ended by another car that did not stop, he said.
The creation of a turning lane means that cars will have a safer place to stop when making a left turn, White said.
“It should be better,” he said.
With this or any other kind of road work, the best thing a driver can do is pay attention to their surroundings and look for signs or other changes, White said.
“Notice that there is a change and pay attention to it,” he said.