LAURINBURG —The four-way stop at Five Points on US 15-501 and NC 144 has greatly reduced the number of accidents at the intersection, according to a report by an official with the state Department of Transportation.
Now the DOT would like to construct a roundabout similar to the one on St. John’s Road near the hospital.
The new roundabout will be completed by 2018, according to Brandon Jones, Division 8 engineer for DOT. Construction of a roundabout in the northeast quadrant of the intersection will cost about $1.1 million, but the price tag could up depending on the purchases of right-of-ways near the project. Jones added that the impact will be minimal during the work.
Jones described the all-way stop as the intermediate solution to traffic issues at the intersection. Constructing the four-way stop cost about $25,000.
“We were looking to implement a quick solution to the problems there,” Jones said. “But the roundabout is more of a long-term solution in terms of mobility. It will still provide safety, but people will not have to come to a complete stop. traffic will be able to move better.”
Since the four-way stop was installed in August of last year, there have been three crashes at slow speeds with one minor injury from September 2015 to February 2016.
In a five-year period from May 1, 2010 to April 30, 2015, according to a DOT accident analysis, there were 63 crashes at the intersection that included one fatality and nine more severe accidents.
“Based on our analysis, we were able to reduce the number of accident by about 73 percent,” Jones said.
During the public comment period last year, a number of residents and local officials expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of stop signs on U.S. 501.
“It’s going to be a total disaster, because that traffic is not going to stop or even slow down,” one resident said. “Not for a four-way stop.”
Jones said he hopes time has changed some minds about the stops.
“Four-way stops regardless of where there are usually aren’t popular,” he said. “but once people see how well they work, they are a little better received. Motorists realize that navigating through that area really is a little easier.”
An average of about 5,600 vehicles travel on 15-501 each day. About 3,100 travel on N.C. 144 daily.
Reach Scott Witten at 910-506-3023