02/15/11 — New stop signs in plans for N.C. 55

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New stop signs in plans for N.C. 55

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 15, 2011 1:46 PM

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A sport utility vehicle crosses over N.C. 55 and heads north on N.C. 111. State highway authorities plan to make the crossroads in the southeastern part of Wayne a four-way stop.

SEVEN SPRINGS -- A major change is in the works for traffic traveling along N.C. 55 where it intersects N.C. 111 -- a four-way stop is expected to be in place within the next 90 days.

The intersection, about 12 miles southeast of Goldsboro, has been the scene of numerous wrecks, several of which have been fatalities. However, traffic volume is not heavy enough to warrant a stoplight, state Department of Transportation officials said.

Work already is under way on piping the ditches, said David Morton, DOT regional traffic safety engineer. That work entails placing pipe in the ditches and covering them with earth.

"That is done just in case someone has difficulty and loses control. That (piping) improves the recovery area," he said.

The four-way, also called all-way, stops have proven effective in other areas of the county including N.C. 581 and Pikeville-Princeton Road at Pikes Crossroads near Pikeville, and at Tommy's Road and Hare Road just north of Goldsboro.

"There is a reduction in crashes and I think it will be worth it," he said. "We feel like they reduce crashes quite a bit."

The signs lessen the chances of more severe crashes happening, he said.

Currently vehicles on N.C. 111 have to stop, but those using N.C. 55 can travel through the intersection without stopping.

Rumble strips have been in place for years on N.C. 111 to warn of the stop signs on that road. Also in place is a flashing light that flashes yellow for traffic on N.C. 55 and red for traffic on N.C. 111. That will change to flash red for traffic on both roads.

Also, additional signs will be placed on N.C. 55 warning motorists of the change and pavement markings will be improved, too.

The change is a result of a DOT investigation that found traffic volumes, past crash history and other factors over the past five years warranted installing stop signs on N.C. 55 to improve the safety of the intersection.

As drivers approach the intersection, they are advised to follow these right-of-way rules:

* The first vehicle to the intersection has the right of way ahead of any vehicle that has not yet arrived;

* When two or more vehicles reach an intersection at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right of way;

* The vehicle with the right of way may move straight ahead or, if legal and after signaling, turn left or right;

* When two facing vehicles approach an intersection at the same time, both drivers can move straight ahead or turn right. If one driver is going straight while the other wants to turn left, the driver who wants to turn left must yield. The driver who is traveling straight ahead has the right of way; and

* Even with the right of way, remember to use the appropriate turn signals and be careful to avoid hitting other vehicles and/or pedestrians.

For more information on navigating intersections, consult the North Carolina Driver's Handbook. To get a copy, call 1-877-DOT-4YOU or visit www.ncdot.gov/dmv/driver_services/drivershandbook.