01/04/05 — Calypso commissioner angry over Wayne stoplight

View Archive

Calypso commissioner angry over Wayne stoplight

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on January 4, 2005 1:59 PM

CALYPSO -- Rubylene Lambert is back on the town board, and she's irate that U.S. 117 South in Wayne County got a traffic light, and a deadly intersection near her town didn't.

Mayor Tom Reaves called her to come to the regular meeting of the Calypso town board Monday night, and he swore her into office before she could say no.

She had been relieved in November 2003 when she failed to win re-election. She had planned to not seek re-election, but residents talked her into running again.

Former Mayor Dick Lewis was voted back in. He had resigned, and he resigned again in November 2004. This time he told the board he was moving out of town to be the pastor of Princeton United Methodist Church.

Ms. Lambert told the other board members she wanted to petition the N.C. Department of Transportation about the dangerous intersection at Trade Street and the US 117 by-pass.

The Division of Motor Vehicles issued a report in 2003 confirming that 28 crashes, four of them fatal, had occurred there since 1994 when the intersection was built. Six people died in the four confirmed fatal crashes.

The Division of Highways was asked to look at improvements, but the town has heard nothing.

Several weeks ago, Ms. Lambert said, she was driving to Goldsboro and saw the traffic light being installed on U.S. 117 at Dudley. Engineers cited complaints from the community, the nearby Georgia Pacific plant and a couple of schools in the area. Trucks and school buses don't mix, said Andy Brown, the engineer for Division 4, which includes Wayne County.

Duplin County falls in Division 3. The engineer in Division 3 could not be reached for comment today.

"Well, we have trucks, too," said Ms. Lambert. Calypso has a couple of schools nearby. Calypso has a couple of pickle plants nearby, and they have big trucks going down the road, too, she said.

"Are the lives of our students less valuable than those in southern Wayne County?" she asked. "Why do they get a light when we've been wanting something done for years? Why did they get theirs, and we didn't get ours?"

She asked the other board members if they objected to her starting a petition drive requesting, again, that something be done about the intersection.

The mayor told her the board supports her. Board member Greg Day recommended that the board pass a resolution. The discussion didn't go any farther until after the meeting.

"It's not right," said board member Diane Lewis. "Lives in this county are just as important."

"We have tried to get some kind of protection for the longest time," said Mrs. Lambert. "I called five people connected with the DOT the same day (she saw the Dudley light go up) and got nothing but answer machines. It seems to me they're showing favoritism."