05/02/08 — Officials: 581 didn't need a new stoplight

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Officials: 581 didn't need a new stoplight

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 2, 2008 1:45 PM

The traffic flow at the intersection of N.C. 581 and Pikeville-Princeton Road northwest of Goldsboro was enough to warrant converting what had been a two-way stop into a four-way, but not enough for a stoplight, state Dept. of Transportation officials said.

DOT workers were at the intersection, also known as Pike's Crossroads, Thursday installing new stop signs on N.C. 581. Stop signs were already in place on the Pikeville-Princeton Road.

DOT District Traffic Engineer Andy Brown said a stoplight had not been considered for the intersection. Brown said North Carolina follows the guidelines set forth in the federal Highway Administration's Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

The manual, he said, spells out the specifics for what kind of traffic control device should be deployed.

"We made the determination that the four-way stop was the most appropriate," he said.

Brown said large electronic "message boards" had been placed on N.C. 581 for several weeks. At first, the signs alerted motorists to the fact that the work was to be done and then that the work was actually under way.

It will now warn motorists on N.C. 581 of the new traffic pattern and to "be prepared to stop ahead."

The new stop signs on N.C. 581 will also sport flashing lights to draw attention to them, he said.

A flashing traffic light will remain above the intersection. However, the light will no longer be triggered by motorists nearing the intersection on the Pikeville-Princeton Road to alert traffic on N.C. 581. Instead the light will flash red to all approaching traffic.

The project is expected to cost about $15,000. Brown said the cost was somewhat more than normally associated with a stop sign project because of the need to change how the flashing traffic light works.

Intersections are inspected on a two-year cycle, Brown added, and the DOT began its safety study of the intersection late last year.

The study showed that the traffic flow was almost identical in all four directions. On N.C. 581 the daily traffic count averaged 1,200 southbound vehicles and 1,100 northbound. On the Pikeville-Princeton Road the daily count was 1,100 westbound vehicles and 1,000 eastbound.

Brown said that according to crash statistics, there were 30 traffic accidents at the intersection during the period of June 1, 2002 to May 31, 2007. Most of the crashes were "T-bones" in which vehicles pulled in front of another and were struck in the side.