Council endorses 15th Street project

Published 5:23 pm 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.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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