The North Carolina Department of Transportation announced plans to install a new traffic signal at a dangerous intersection on N.C. Highway 27 that has seen its share of wrecks.
Following a review of the intersection at N.C. Highway 27 and Red Hill Church Road, DOT engineers determined the area warranted a new traffic signal intended to improve safety over the current two-way stop. Installation is expected to be completed by spring or summer of next year.
Engineers looked at several factors when considering the safety of the intersection, including crash data, traffic volume and field inspections. The DOT follows the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices to help determine which intersections should get all-way stops or a full traffic signal, and the type of signage to use.
Adding the traffic light is only one facet of the project. Andrew Barksdale, public relations officer for the N.C. DOT, said plans also include converting the intersection of Bailey’s Crossroads and Red Hill Church Road into an all-way stop.
“This intersection does not warrant a traffic signal, but the four-way stop will be a safety improvement,” said Barksdale.
Engineers also recommended making Bailey’s Crossroads into a dead end at N.C. 27 and realigning Fairground Road at the same intersection into more of a 90-degree right angle as it intersects the highway.
“Right now, it’s ‘skewed,’ so drivers on Fairground Road have to crane their necks and look harder to see if it’s clear on N.C. 27 before pulling out,” Barksdale said. “People will no longer be able to access Bailey’s Crossroads from N.C. 27.”
All three projects are estimated to cost approximately $850,000 with funding approval expected by the North Carolina Board of Transportation sometime in the spring. Engineers submitted the project last fall and a NCDOT committee recommended approval.
“We will need to acquire some new right of way to realign Fairground Road and install the traffic signals,” said Barksdale. “There will be no impacts to homes or businesses. We anticipate acquiring the new R/W this fall, and constructing the improvements and installing the traffic signal by spring or summer 2021.
“We are always evaluating ways to make our roads safer and meet modern design standards. In this case, we are glad a committee agreed to fund this project, which will improve traffic flow and traffic safety in this community.”
Peggy Marie Jordan, a clerk at Bass Country Store, said she has seen more than a dozen wrecks over the past two years at the Red Hill Church Road intersection and knew something needed to be done.
“It’s a bad intersection,” Jordan said. “They either come flying up this way or flying up that way, speeding or not paying attention. The wrecks usually happen between here and Bailey Road. A traffic light would probably do better because people would actually have to stop and pay attention. At least they’re trying to do something. It is an awful spot.”
The speed limit on N.C. 27 is 55 mph between Coats and Benson.
-Dunn Daily Record