Confusion, controversy grow in downtown Opp

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

OPP, AL (WSFA) - It is late morning in downtown Opp and at first glance, all looks and sounds normal, but not really. Stop signs now anchor two intersections in town.

The traffic lights at Main and Covington Avenue came down a month ago, and the set of lights at Main and East Hart are days away from being dismantled. There are some who just don't like it. Keep the lights up, they argue.

"I just think it's safer and they were here for so many years, why take them down?" said one driver.

Other drivers expressed similar sentiments. One man said 'he didn't care one way or the other.'

Mayor H.D. Edgar makes no apologies, claiming the town's own traffic study suggested there wasn't enough traffic to justify the signals and there's more.

The mayor says maintaining just one intersection of lights and poles cost the city around $17,000 a year.

"People want progress but they don't want change. We're also putting down new sidewalks and we want to take the power lines down and put them underground,' said Mayor Edgar.

In a way this is so much more than an ascetic issue. For many it's one of safety and to help improve safety, the mayor said the word STOP and warning strips will be put on the asphalt in the outside lanes in all intersections.

"We have had accidents when the lights were up but none since they were taken down. It's too early to tell but I'm leaning towards the idea it was a good move," said downtown merchant Henry Hornsby.

Shedding light on a small town disagreement that shows no sign of fading away.

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