06/15/12 — Zion Church intersect is open

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Zion Church intersect is open

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 15, 2012 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Two years, some controversy and a redesign later, what started out as a move to close the Zion Church Road intersection with N.C. 55 and N.C. 403 has ended with the opening of the road's new intersection.

"The old roadbed looks like part of the field," said Chris Pendergraph, state Department of Transportation district engineer. "It really didn't take that long. It took less than a month. The weather was very cooperative."

The realigned Zion Church/N.C. 55 intersection is approximately 800 feet east of the old one and about a mile west of the Emmaus Church Road intersection with N.C. 55.

The project cost about $254,000.

Wayne County commissioners were first asked in the spring of 2010 to support the closure because of safety concerns -- the intersection located just east of town has been the scene of 11 accidents including two fatalities over the past five years.

At a February public hearing, residents in the area argued against the closure saying that most of the crashes were caused by traffic on N.C. 55, or N.C. 403 or Pineview Cemetery Road, which also intersects with N.C. 55.

William Farmer, who lives in the Zion Church Road community, donated the land for the right of way for the realigned Zion Church Road.

The original plan had been to close the intersection and to pave a short dirt section of Emmaus Church Road, which traffic could use for travel between N.C. 55 and Zion Church Road. Once it became evident that Zion Church Road would be realigned, the state looked at closing the dirt section of Emmaus Church Road to eliminate at least one intersection with N.C. 55.

However, that failed to materialize.

Pendergraph said paving the dirt section was still part of the county's secondary road plan, but that it is "far down" on the list.