HEFLIN — The Heflin City Council heard from a company representative of a Birmingham civil engineering firm concerning a safety and operations study of U.S. 78 where it runs through Heflin.
Joe Meads, owner of the firm known as Sain Associates, told the council that his company can conduct a study of the four-lane portion of U.S. 78 which runs from Alabama 9 to beyond the intersection of Alabama 46.
The study would be carried out with the following goals in mind:
— Reduce speeds in downtown Heflin by restriping the street, thereby reducing the current four lanes to two lanes separated by a center turning lane.
— Reevaluate all traffic signals along the route and add or remove signals as needed.
— Make downtown Heflin more accommodating to pedestrians and possibly add bicycle lanes.
Meads said the cost of the survey is $57,000, however the Alabama Department of Transportation will cover 90 percent of the study and Heflin will cover the remaining 10 percent.
Tanya Maloney, economic developer for the city, said there is a situation downtown where people like to drive quickly.
“We want downtown to feel safe and to be more pedestrian friendly; to slow down and take time to view what’s going on, our shops we’ve got on the street,” Maloney said.
Currently only two traffic signals are downtown. Heflin Mayor Rudy Rooks said that three traffic lights were pulled in the past to actually speed up traffic through downtown.
“Safety may take precedence over the traffic flow,” Rooks said.
“At one time we were like a five traffic-light town,” Rooks said.
Maloney said that it’s difficult to back up when parking downtown because it’s hard to see oncoming traffic. If there were a bicycle lane to back into it would not be as difficult, she said.
Meads said he will let the traffic dictate what the options are for the recommendations once the study is complete.
During department reports Heflin Police Chief A.J. Benefield introduced two new police officers. The two officers — Marquis Watkins and Daniel Price — fill two vacancies from officers who have left the department recently.
For the month of January, Benefield said, there were:
— 1304 business checks
— 45 incident reports
— 37 cases closed by arrest
— 38 traffic citations
— 212 traffic warnings
— 2 presentations
Maloney reported that there will be a new site for the Cleburne County Fair this year. The old fairgrounds on Alabama 9 were too small so the fair will be held at Exit 205 along Interstate 20 behind the BP gas station.
City Clerk Shane Smith said that in March the city will have a ribbon-cutting for a new outdoor classroom at the Cahulga Creek Park.