A sharp increase in accidents has prompted the Town of Smithfield and NC Department of Transportation to look at ways to make safety improvements.
In 2015, there were six accidents reported on Outlet Center Drive. So far in 2016, 21 wrecks have been reported. Many of those have occurred on Outlet Center Drive near the traffic circle at Smithfield Crossings Drive.
Tuesday night, the Smithfield Town Council agreed to look at ways to improve safety including the addition of a “No U Turn” sign and the placement of bollards near the intersection. Bollards are short vertical posts that prevent drivers from switching lanes.
Town Manager Michael Scott said the accidents occur as drivers attempt to reach restaurants on Smithfield Crossings Drive. “Vehicles traveling west on Outlet Center Drive attempt to make u-turns after the median ends. This causes these westbound vehicles to turn in front of traffic that is traveling in the same direction originating from Smithfield Crossings Drive.”
Scott said he has met with town engineer Bill Dreitzler and discussed the problems. Until a permanent fix can be identified, the council agreed to place the “No U Turn” sign and add bollards.