Council endorses 15th Street projectPublished 5:23pm Friday, January 17, 2014
Washington’s City Council is supporting a plan that would make a section of 15th Street safer for motorists and pedestrians.
The plan is somewhat different than one proposed last year. The council’s endorsement of the revised plan came during its meeting Monday. The project’s roots go back to 2000, according to Dwayne Alligood, a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Transportation.
The revised plan calls for improvements in the section of 15th Street from Carolina Avenue (U.S. Highway 17 Business) to the Pierce Street area. The proposed improvements call for a divided road with a median separating the travel lanes.
Alligood said the project’s goal is to reduce the number of vehicles crashes on that section of 15th Street. Those crashes on that section of road occur about three times more frequently than crashes on similar roads in other areas of the state, according to DOT figures.
“What that would do, we would put a center median in there and provide turn lanes at signalized intersections. If there are places in between where we can provide a crossover, then we would do that. That would be a channelized crossover. It wouldn’t be a full opening. It would be where you could make a left turn off the main line,” Alligood said.
Haywood Daughtry, a safety engineer with DOT, said the project is about “keeping local people alive.”
As far as Washington’s City Council is concerned, there’s no question that part of 15th Street needs widening.
There is a question about the cost to the city when it comes to helping pay for that widening. That’s why the council asked DOT to send representatives to its meeting Monday — to find out more information, especially cost data, before signing off on the agreement between the city and DOT.
The initial proposed agreement calls for the city to pay for costs of relocating utilities that exceed $150,000 and be responsible for rights-of-way costs that exceed $135,000. But those amounts could be lower or go away altogether under certain conditions, according to Alligood.