Governor Pat McCrory says $50 million will be dedicated to improving highway safety and reducing the number of traffic wrecks throughout North Carolina. The money will be spent on a variety of projects, each aimed at creating safer driving conditions at their specific locations. The improvements include the addition of turn lanes, upgrades on traffic signals, asphalt improvements to deal with wet surfaces and new guardrails.
In the Department of Transportation’s Division 4, eight projects are on the list, at an estimated cost of more than $3.3 million.
Johnston County has three of them, including two along Covered Bridge Road. One will upgrade traffic signals and add a left turn lane in the area around Buffalo Road and the other also adds a left turn lane and installs a traffic signal to make intersections with South Murphrey Road and Archer Lodge Road safer.
In Wayne County, intersection improvements are planned for N.C. 55 and Camp Jubilee Road and N.C. 581 and Memorial Church Road. Nash County will see some I-95 work, as improved bridge protection and drainage is set for the Halifax Road overpass, northwest of Rocky Mount.
The projects were selected using a data-driven process, including the evaluation of local crash data. Additionally, citizen groups, local elected officials and community leaders helped identify specific traffic hazards to be considered for the safety funds.
In addition to the initial list of projects, the Department of Transportation will also distribute $1 million to each of its 14 highway divisions for additional improvements. This is money to be split evenly between projects for long-life pavement markings and the replacement of substandard guardrail end caps.
The pavement marking work will replace worn and damaged pavement markings with materials that will last longer and provide greater visibility than paint. The guardrail projects will replace older end caps on existing guardrails with the type that meets current safety standards.
The $50 million is state funds the Board of Transportation approved in February to pay for the projects. Once they are completed, the NC DOT will apply for reimbursement of the money through the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program. The money for that program was part of the five-year federal transportation funding plan approved in December.