04/22/14 — 'Unpopular,' but needed

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'Unpopular,' but needed

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on April 22, 2014 1:46 PM

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Wayne Memorial Drive is about to get a median, as local and state officials have determined that the road would be far less dangerous with one.

Traffic congestion on Wayne Memorial Drive is leading local and state transportation agencies to install a median along the busiest part of the thoroughfare and eliminate most left turns in that section of the street.

The project is intended to reduce the number of traffic accidents along the busiest portion of the heavily traveled roadway.

"It's going to be unpopular, but it's going to be safer," Goldsboro City Councilman Chuck Allen said at a meeting last month.

Work on the project is expected to begin this month.

The median, made up of 3-foot-wide concrete in most places, will run from just north of the bridge over the U.S. 70 Bypass to Country Day Road with breaks at all existing lighted intersections, city officials said.

The project, being carried out by the state Department of Transportation, is being driven by the city, which requested DOT look into its feasibility last fall.

The median will be 10 feet wide at the bridge and taper down to 3 feet at its northern end, leaving turn lanes at existing lighted intersections.

"The project should take two to three weeks to complete," Assistant City Manager Randy Guthrie said. "It will channel traffic minimizing points of conflict, especially in those left turns. It will push those movements to stoplights where drivers can make U-turns or turn left there."

David Raper, co-owner of Raper Discount Drugs, is worried about what the median will do to his business, which is located in the project zone and is not located at an intersection.

"I'm obviously concerned about how it's going to affect business," he said. "We'll just have to wait and see but I don't see where it'll be good for business. A lot of accidents happen here though, so I can understand why they are doing it."

At Wayne Memorial Hospital the time spent during construction is more of a concern than the finished product, Wayne Memorial Director of Public Relations Georgia Dees said.

"I wouldn't think that would be a problem except maybe traffic during the construction," she said. "It's a block away from the hospital. It's probably a good idea down there."

Ms. Dees said she was not sure if the median would help with hospital emergency transport. Ambulances often have to negotiate crowded intersections at peak travel times to reach the emergency department.

"We didn't feel like it would have any effect on the hospital," she said.

At Wayne Country Day School, Headmaster Todd Anderson said he is not very worried about the traffic due to the school having access by Patetown Road.

"We are lucky in that we have a back door," he said. "People can go up and down Patetown Road instead of Wayne Memorial."

Anderson said many cars already use that route and he expects if traffic back-up becomes a problem in the main lanes that more cars will shift to that route.

"That generally doesn't happen, and let's hope it stays like that," he said. "I hope it will be safer and less hectic because that is always something we are watching. Because we live in fear of that."

Wayne Memorial Drive also will be resurfaced from the bypass to Country Day Road, along with inside lanes of the roadway from Country Day Road to New Hope Road.

"The outer lanes were done in that section a couple of years ago so those lanes don't need the attention yet," Guthrie said.