Lenoir County intersection gets makeover, becomes safer for commuters

Traffic

LA GRANGE, N.C. (WNCT)- After 21 vehicle accidents in the last 10 years, one Lenoir County intersection has just been updated into a four-way stop.

The N.C. Department of Transportation installed and implemented a new traffic pattern at Wheat Swamp Road and Institute Road near North Lenoir High School. Crews added additional stop signs and pavement markings, changing the traffic pattern. The decision was based on a safety review and crash patterns.

“NCDOT, for the whole, there’s been an all-way stop initiative so the State looks at the intersections that have a traffic volume of around 7,500 cars per day, or less. And we look at those intersections and determine if they’ve had five accidents over 10-year history,” said Jeremy Stroud, PE, Division 2 maintenance engineer.

“After review, we tried to come up with a remedy to help eliminate those accidents, and one of the ways we do that is by implementing an always stop.” 

Although there haven’t been any fatal accidents at this particular location, between 2010-2020, there were 21 crashes, seven resulting in personal injuries.

“Intersections that have received an all ways stop switch over from a two-direction stop to an all-way stop. We’ve reviewed 100 of those intersections over time and there have been no fatalities reported at any of the intersections that were converted to an all-way stop condition,” Stroud said.

Tim Hass, communications officer for NCDOT Divisions 1&2, said in an email that all-way stops have been shown to reduce fatality and injury crashes by 72% with a simple sign installation. There’s also an 87% crash reduction if an overhead flasher is present. 

This intersection now has both the simple sign installation and an overhead flasher. The estimated cost of this updated intersection is $43,000.

“We work with the Lenoir County Transportation Board, we work with the school at this particular location. We receive input from them and concerns and those kinds of things. With the school, for example, I think their concern was with the speed limit through that area,” said Stroud.

The NCDOT hopes by enforcing this all-way stop, will reduce and eliminate accidents altogether.

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