With the posting of signs the last official step, the speed limit has now officially been lowered on Pugh Road, the frequently-used cut-over between U.S. 701 Business and N.C. 403 (Faison Highway).
In June, the N.C. Department of Transportation notified City of Clinton officials it would be lowering the limit following the state’s study of the road. Speed limit concerns from residents prompted City Council to adopt a resolution seeking the lowered limit in April.
Residents said vehicles and large trucks were traveling in excess speeds on the road, where homes are located and residents have to back out of their driveways. The city resolution, which sought a limit reduction from 55 to 35 mph on the state-maintained road following a Clinton Police Department traffic study, was forwarded to DOT.
DOT agreed the speed limit should be changed upon performing its own engineering investigation. The DOT ultimately decided to lower the limit to 45 mph.
The DOT’s study included evaluating road characteristics, existing conditions, the surrounding environment and calculating the “85th percentile speed,” the speed at which 85 percent of the sampled vehicles travel which is used to determine the speed limit.
“The majority of drivers operate their vehicles at a speed that is comfortable without strict enforcement, regardless of the signage. On Pugh Road, the 85th percentile speed, measured in two locations, was 53 mph within the 55 zone, indicating that this is the speed that most drivers consider reasonable,” said Katie Hite, Division Traffic Engineer for DOT’s District 3. “There are multiple driveways from both businesses and residences along Pugh Road and their presence factored into our study.”
Based on the findings, DOT recommended a speed limit of 45 mph for Pugh Road for the segment between N.C. 403 and the City of Clinton corporate limits, located approximately 0.18-mile northeast of U.S. 701 Business. There is a 0.06-mile segment of Pugh Road near N.C. 403 within the city corporate limits that requires the DOT and the city to enact concurring ordinances for that section, Hite noted.
Council subsequently adopted a resolution amending the Official Traffic Map to reduce the speed on Pugh Road within the City of Clinton corporate limits.
“It may take several weeks for the enactment of the ordinance by the Department of Transportation,” Hite remarked in late May, “at which time we will install the 45 mph signs.”
Those signs went up earlier this month.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-249-4616. Follow us on twitter @SampsonInd.