12/12/04 — Stoplight battle yields to push for overpass

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Stoplight battle yields to push for overpass

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on December 12, 2004 2:05 AM

The Wayne County commissioners did a U-turn Friday, deciding not to fight a stoplight on U.S. 117 South.

Instead, the county board has reached an informal consensus that the intersection at O'Berry Road, near Dudley, is dangerous, and the already installed stoplight should be activated.

The commissioners do intend to ask the state to build an overpass interchange at the intersection.

At Tuesday's board meeting, the commissioners complained that the N.C. Department of Transportation had installed the signal without telling them. They want to keep stoplights off the highway, which is expected to be a major north-south route once the new bypass between Goldsboro and Wilson opens.

But following that meeting, the county staff and commissioners reviewed accident data compiled by the DOT. At least 21 accidents have happened at that intersection in the past three years.

"There have been quite a few phone conversations in the last few days," County Manager Lee Smith said Friday.

County officials had asked the DOT to consider redesigning the intersection so that it would be less dangerous, but the alternates were all impractical, Smith added.

Smith talked to all the commissioners via telephone, and they agreed to support the stoplight's activation now and to pursue an overpass as soon as possible.

"That would be much safer than even the stoplight," he said.