Following some concern about the safety of motorists entering onto N.C. 24 from Fox Lake and Coharie Drive, N.C. Department of Transportation officials said they are studying the issue.
The City of Clinton recently received a letter from DOT Division engineer Karen E. Collette confirming that an investigation was initiated into the matter. Her response to that particular matter was part of a list of replies to questions from city officials about the ongoing N.C. 24 improvement project.
A comprehensive update on the project was given by City of Clinton engineer Russell W. Byrd at the City Council’s September meeting, with Kevin Bowen, division construction engineer for DOT, among four DOT officials present.
Toward the end of the update, Byrd noted that traffic safety concerns had been raised by citizens regarding the danger of left turns, especially at the Fox Lake and Coharie Drive intersection. Current plans do not include a traffic signal at that location, however Bowen said at the time that could be further evaluated.
“That is a concern,” Byrd remarked then, “particularly with those left turns.”
Collette said a study has now begun.
“At your request, we have initiated a signal investigation for the intersection of N.C. 24/Sunset Avenue and Fox Lake/Coharie Drive,” she stated in the correspondence, dated Nov. 7 and mentioned at the Council’s regular meeting earlier this week. “This intersection is being studied in its currently designed configuration as a full movement intersection, and will be evaluated with a superstreet design, having directional left turns from N.C. 24 into Fox Lake and Coharie Drive, with no left turns allowed out of those side streets.”
She said DOT would present to City of Clinton staff “findings for signal warrants for each option once our analysis is complete.”
“It is expected that this work will be completed in the next 30 days, If the investigation finds that a signal is not warranted, yet the City of Clinton desires to have a signal installed at this intersection, then it may be considered provided you are willing to pay for it,” Collette stated.
The 40-mile N.C. 24 Improvement Project running through the center of Clinton and Sampson County will serve as a major connector between Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune and is expected to bring economic growth to the area — and already has.
The N.C. 24 project, still in the early stages in Clinton with orange barrels and lane closings, has already remarkably changed the look of the roadway as it stretches west toward Roseboro.
When completed, the $400 million-plus project will consist of a four-lane highway, stretching from Cumberland County to I-40 near Warsaw. Work on the entire project began in October 2013 and was, for a time, slated for March 2018 completion. That is now a February 2019 completion, something Byrd announced in September and Collette confirmed in her letter to the city.
That may not be the end of the delays, as city and DOT officials continue to tend to sewer rehabilitation and utility relocation issues.
“We do expect that there may be additional time extensions, considering our most recent discussions and lack of resolution over the sewer rehabilitation needs on this project thus far,” Collette noted.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.