After waiting nearly six months for a written response, Troutman officials have been rebuffed by the state Department of Transportation in their efforts to change traffic control at the Old Mountain Road/U.S. 21 intersection.
Town Manager David Saleeby had written to the state in January, seeking a stop sign rather than a yield sign for eastbound traffic turning south onto U.S. 21. However, in an e-mail dated July 7, the state rejected his request.
“According to the crash data for a five-year period, there were no angle crashes associated with the right-turn movement,” said Samuel Nichols, DOT 12th Division Traffic Engineer. “Considering the additional queuing that would be created on Old Mountain Road, we recommend retaining the existing geometrics.”
Saleeby brought the matter to the attention of the Town Board at the beginning of its pre-agenda briefing last week. “With all due respect to the DOT, who needs to die before they change that?” Saleeby said.
The intersection is controlled by a traffic signal. However, eastbound motorists turning south onto U.S 21 can avoid the red light by accessing a right-turn “slip lane,” controlled only by a yield right-of-way sign. Town officials claim that many motorists do not properly yield to southbound traffic and that westbound motorists making a left turn onto U.S. 21 have limited distance to see cars rolling through the yield sign.
Police Chief Matthew Selves said he believes that if the state refuses to put a stop sign rather than a yield sign at the intersection, a reconfiguration of the intersection might be the best solution. “The lane with the yield sign is much closer to the intersection than we normally see,” Selves said.
Either way, because U.S. 21 is a state-maintained thoroughfare, any changes will require state approval, which for the moment appears unlikely.
Also at last week's pre-agenda session, the town board decided to table a request from Jerome Howard for water and sewer capacity of 97,920 gallons per day for a proposed 408-unit multi-family development on a 72-acre parcel east of U.S. 21.
Town officials claim that the request would be better viewed in conjunction with surrounding planned developments, and indicated they would table the request for 90 days so additional information could be considered.