Right turn only: New traffic pattern at hospital intersection

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A new traffic pattern at the intersection of East 12th Street and Highland Drive in Washington has police warning drivers of the changes.

According to Lt. William Chrismon, spokesman for the Washington Police Department, the change made by NCDOT has prompted some confusion and the issue of a few warning tickets to drivers.

“We’ve been issuing some courtesy warnings,” Chrismon said. “This time of year money is tight — we just want everyone to understand traffic has changed. We don’t want to penalize them.”

The source of confusion is on Highland Drive as drivers approach the 12th Street intersection from out of town. The far light lane, closest to Vidant Beaufort Hospital, is now right turn only, whereas previously drivers could turn or drive straight through the intersection.

While there is a big sign at the intersection to alert drivers, Chrismon said there have been some complaints regarding drivers crossing the intersection from the right turn only lane.

“We’ve had a lot of people not understanding that it’s changed,” he explained, adding that there have been no accidents at the intersection, but drivers need to pay attention.

“Right now there’s a lot of traffic on the road because of Christmas,” Chrismon said. “We urge people to be careful on the road. We just want to have a safe holiday season.”

Chrismon said patrol officers will eventually be issuing real tickets to those making this particular moving violation, but did not name a date when that would begin. At $238 for the infraction and court cost, the price for inattention is steep.

“We don’t want to write anyone a ticket,” Chrismon said. “We just want everyone to do the right thing.”