To increase safety, N.C. DOT has recommended the median at East Broad Street and Elm Place in Statesville be extended across the intersection, restricting motorists from making most turns.
Full movements are permitted at the corner, which has been the scene of 40 accidents over the past 10 years.
“This location was flagged on our Highway Safety Improvement Program for the chronic frontal impact crash pattern over a 10-year period,” said DOT spokeswoman Jordan Baker. “We have provided the city with a crash diagram and our recommendation to close the median opening.”
The DOT is recommending that the Broad Street median be extended across the intersection to eliminate left turns and through-movements from either approach on Elm Street. A study of the 40 accidents indicates that all but one would have been eliminated if the turns to be eliminated had not been permitted.
Although the changes would be funded by the state, the DOT has been seeking city council support for the modifications. In a July 21 memorandum to City Manager Larry Pressley, Public Works Director Scott Harrell said that “staff concurs with the DOT’s recommendations for improving the Elm Street intersection.”
It had been originally scheduled for consideration by the city council at their July 31 pre-agenda meeting, but it was pulled off the agenda at the last minute.
According to Harrell, as of Sept. 8, the matter was still under consideration, but “needs another discussion before proceeding.” He is not sure when it will be presented to the council.
Part of the delay may involve around how to handle motorists who would have previously turned onto Elm Street from Broad Street. “The city wanted us to look at the possibility of making some improvements to the nearby intersection of East Broad Street and Greene Street in conjunction with the Elm Street project,” Baker said.
Harrell confirmed the city would like the state to develop sight-distance improvements at the Greene Street intersection “to better accommodate any increase in traffic.”
According to the NCDOT website, the purpose of the N.C. Highway Safety Improvement Program is to provide a continuous and systematic process that identifies, reviews and addresses specific traffic safety concerns throughout the state. The program includes a list of locations and intersections that are possibly deficient, detailed crash analyses, engineering field investigations and benefit/cost studies.
The ultimate goal of the program is to reduce the number of traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities by reducing the potential for and the severity of these incidents on public roadways.