Project is all about safety

Published 5:13 pm Thursday, September 19, 2013

It’s about time.

The N.C. Department of Transportation is planning to widen a section of 15th Street in Washington, from Carolina Avenue (U.S. Highway 17 Business) to Pierce Street, at a cost of about $3.2 million.

But that section of 15th Street carries another cost.

That section of road has about three times the number motor-vehicle crashes compared to similar sections of roads across the state, according to NCDOT data. The planned improvements would be welcome, but for some motorists those improvements will come too late. Still, any improvements to that 0.64-mile section of 15th Street can only make a terrible traffic situation better.

The proposed project calls for widening that section of 15th Street from a 48-foot-wide, undivided road to a 64-foot-wide, four-lane divided road with a 16-foot-wide median and 7-foot berms. To address crash concerns, the median will be a channelized, left-turn-only median, according to NCDOT information.

Implementing those improvements means the project will disrupt traffic along that section of road. While that work is under way, motorists and others will complain. That’s human nature. But the end result will be improved traffic flow and safety. Can’t argue with that.

It’s anticipated that some business owners along the section of road to be improved may complain that work on the project would impede customer traffic to their businesses. They might be right. If making those improvements means that section of road will be safer, we will take safety over any inconvenience for merchants and motorists without any reservations.