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City begins small improvements at site of Cam Newton wreck

In response to Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s rollover accident on South Church Street near uptown, the Charlotte Department of Transportation has started making small improvements to the intersection with West Hill Street.

The city hopes to make the intersection safer, but it doesn’t plan any major changes such as installing a stop sign on South Church Street.

The city has installed a new “oversized” stop sign on West Hill Street as well as a second sign to alert motorists that a stop sign is near. Reflective striping will be added to the oversized stop sign to increase visibility at night and in fog.

CDOT plans to repaint the “stop bar” and crosswalk lines on West Hill Street to emphasize to motorists that they must stop.

In addition, CDOT has installed a new sign on South Church Street that warns drivers of the impending intersection with West Hill Street. The city also will repaint the “skip lines” that designate the three lanes on the street, which allows motorists a fast way to exit uptown.

Linda Durrett, a CDOT spokesperson, said the work could be finished in a few days.

The intersection of West Hill and South Church streets near Interstate 277 ranks fourth on the city’s latest list of roads where crashes are most likely to occur. The intersection ranked eighth last year, records show, and 17th in 2012.

Since 2009, as many as 15 motorists have been injured in wrecks there.

The intersection is tricky because West Hill Street does not intersect with South Church Street at a right angle. In addition, some cars on West Hill Street are preparing to enter the access road to I-277, where they will drive at high speeds.

The city said there are no plans to add a new stop sign on Church Street or any other warning devices, such as flashing yellow lights.

CDOT traffic experts said it would “not be appropriate or good safety engineering practice to put up stop signs on Church Street, a three lane one-way street.”

On 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 9, Newton was driving south on Church Street when he collided with a sedan that was crossing Church from Hill Street. Newton’s truck flipped and came to a rest on its side, on the bridge over I-277.

Neither driver was cited in the crash.

Newton suffered two fractured bones in his lower back and missed a game that weekend. He returned to lead the Panthers to the playoffs.

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