Law enforcement officers ready for beach traffic

Published 2:21 am Saturday, March 10, 2018

Law enforcement officers in Covington County are preparing for beach traffic as spring breakers head south to the Gulf Coast beaches.

“Traffic is normally increased by around 1000 percent of the off season traffic,” River Falls Police Chief Cody Warren said.

A good amount of travelers use Ala. Highway 55 South as a route to get to Destin. Opp and Florala see heavier traffic on U.S. Highway 331.

Warren said that the police force in River Falls attempt to maintain the flow of traffic, but it can get backed up at the intersection of Highway 55 and U.S. Highway 84.

“We have tried putting an officer to direct traffic in the past, but that ties the officer up for hours where he can’t do other things,” he said.

Recently, River Falls has placed white pegs at the intersection to divide the two lanes that head towards Andalusia. This helps the flow of traffic better in the sense that traffic traveling on Highway 84 can keep flowing and the traffic coming from Highway 55 has a lane that is designated for travel.

“The white pegs help if people pay attention and use them,” Warren said.

“However, people will try and U-turn and bypass the poles which causes even bigger problems.”

Warren says that to help with the huge increase of traffic he plans to have more officers out during peek hours.

“The weekends are the busier times,” he said.

“Traffic will be busiest from now until Labor Day and more so on weekends and holidays.”

To combat any potential accidents from travellers who are passing through, Warren said to be a defensive driver.

“Slow down and pay attention. Leave ahead a few minutes early (if you’re passing through River Falls). Look out for emergency vehicles on the side of the road. Please wear your seatbelts.”

The increased traffic also means some local businesses get busier. Scott Brown, co-owner of the Andalusia Zaxby’s, said his business increases 25 percent at this time of the year.