Signalization for N.C. 24/242 OK’d

ROSEBORO — The cries and pleas of residents in the western portion of Sampson County have been heard — signalization is now in the plans for the intersection of the proposed four-lane N.C. 24 and N.C. 242.

Following an open forum meeting during the May Roseboro board meeting, officials from the Department of Transportation have notified mayor pro tem Alice Butler of the department’s intentions to change the previous plan to have a superstreet at the intersection.

“I received notification that the plans have been changed and they are planning to put signalization at the intersection of 24 and 242,” Butler stated during the meeting.

According to Butler, who informed board members of the change Tuesday night, Karen Collette with the NC DOT, contacted her through email and said the department revisited the original plan for a superstreet at the request of the county’s citizens.

During the May meeting, Dunlop said a superstreet is created when a side street’s movement is redirected into a U-turn. For that reason, superstreets, he said, are safer than intersections that allow the traffic to travel straight through or intersections with stoplights. Superstreets are also known for reducing the likelihood of a crash, he said.

In addition to the request of citizens, the Sampson County Board of Education, as well as the Roseboro town board, pleaded with the department to install signalization at the intersection for the safety of the students. Letters from the town, BOE and residents were sent to the DOT, asking they reconsider the plan to design a superstreet for the intersection of the two state highways.

“As you know, the new superstreet Highway 24 will be a heavily traveled road,” Butler read from the letter send to the DOT. “The speed limit may be 55, but we have concerns that traffic would be traveling much faster. State Highway 242 is also heavily traveled, especially in the morning and afternoons with students, teachers, parents, buses, etc. traveling to the local schools and work.”

The superstreet was also addressed during an open forum at the May meeting, allowing Collette and Jim Dunlop, both officials with the DOT, to hear the pleas of county residents to erect signalization at the intersection.

Collete and Dunlop made a presentation to a crowded town hall, assuring residents that the DOT had completely studied the traffic patterns and flow in the concerned area and a superstreet was the safest avenue for the traffic demand. Butler said Tuesday night that the DOT has now decided the intersection’s projected traffic warrants signalization.

“The DOT has said signalization is warranted because of the heaviness in traffic,” Butler said.

Butler also informed the board that the business leaders in Salemburg and Roseboro will continue to press the DOT to put an overpass at the intersection, as according to previous statements from the DOT, when signalization is warranted, so is an overpass.

Representatives from the western area, including town officials from Salemburg and Roseboro, will attend a meeting with the DOT June 12, asking the department to continue to consider an overpass in the area.

“I would encourage everyone who wrote letters to write a thank you letter,” Butler said. “We did get what we were asking for.”