The Alabama Department of Transportation is working hard to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion on U.S. Highway 280. This guide provides information that will help you navigate the changes designed to provide a Better 280.

First, some background:
Highway 280 is one of Alabama’s most congested commuter arteries. ALDOT has conducted several studies on reducing congestion on Highway 280. Ideas included an elevated roadway, which would have cost at least a billion dollars, as well as numerous other construction projects or traffic management strategies—all of which were very costly. Finally, we chose a simpler approach to improve traffic flow on Highway 280 by making a few changes at several congested intersections and re-routing certain lanes. These changes, along with new adaptive signal technology, are designed to create a better, more efficient driving experience on Highway 280.


ALDOT has made changes to improve traffic flow for a Better 280:

  • More priority for Highway 280 through-traffic
  • New left turn lanes on Highway 280 at some intersections
  • Eliminated left turns onto Highway 280 at some intersections
  • Removed traffic lights and adding medians to eliminate cross traffic at some intersections
  • Created signalized U-Turns at some intersections
  • Installed a system of adaptive traffic signals to help with traffic flow. The signal system uses cameras to determine how long lights stay green.


So you ask yourself, if I need to turn left on Highway 280 from a side street where the direct left turn has been eliminated, what do I do?

We’ve got that covered for you right here. These three diagrams will show you how to navigate the new intersections on Highway 280.

Next-exit scenario
When there is an existing exit near to where you would normally turn left, simply take a right, stay in the right-hand lane and take the next exit. Cross over Hwy. 280, take a left onto the on ramp and enter 280 in the opposite direction.

Signalized U-Turn
Take a right onto Hwy. 280. Merge with traffic and begin moving to the left lane. Enter the designated U-Turn lanes. Once you have a green light, make a U-Turn onto 280.

Turn Left; Merge Right
  1. At these intersections, only one direction of traffic on Hwy. 280 will be stopped by traffic lights. Drivers wishing to enter Hwy. 280 to the left from a side road will receive a signal to proceed, then turn left into a designated “acceleration” lane, where they will accelerate to speed and merge right into moving traffic.
  2. Drivers wishing to exit Hwy. 280 to the left will have a designated lane and signal as usual.


(Wendy’s/Hampton Inn)
  • Traffic signal removed
  • Side street left turns and through traffic eliminated
  • Un-signalized left turn traffic allowed from 280 to side streets
  • Side street through-traffic eliminated
  • Side street left turns and through-traffic eliminated
  • 280 outbound traffic does not stop
  • Signalized left turn traffic from 280 outbound remains
  • Traffic signal added for protected outbound U-turns and left turns onto Overton Rd.
  • 280 outbound traffic does not stop
  • Additional left turn lane from Rocky Ridge Rd. onto 280 inbound
  • Additional left turn lane from 280 inbound onto Rocky Ridge Rd.
  • Intersection with Florida Short Rte. eliminated
  • Acceleration lane added to median for side street left turn traffic onto 280 outbound
  • 280 outbound traffic does not stop


We know it will take a little while to adjust to the new changes. Once you know where the new U-Turn lanes are positioned and how they work, you should get used to them fairly quickly. Plan for the fact that other motorists will be maneuvering left toward the inner lanes to take advantage of U-Turn opportunities. Allow them to merge. With a little patience and politeness we’re sure that the new 280 will be a smoother, safer, quicker, and friendlier driving experience for everyone.

Copyright © 2013, Alabama Department of Transportation