Project all about safety

Published 10:16 pm Monday, January 20, 2014

A tip of that hat to the North Carolina Department of Transportation for coming up with a proposal to reduce the number of vehicle crashes on the section of 15th Street from Carolina Avenue to Pierce Street in Washington. And a tip of the hat to the Washington City Council for endorsing the project so the money earmarked for that project won’t be taken away and used for another project somewhere else.

The proposed project calls for making that section of 15th Street a divided highway with a median. That section of 15th Street has about three times the number motor-vehicle crashes compared to similar sections of roads across the state, according to NCDOT data.

Why the change? Simple answer: for safety reasons.

Haywood Daughtry, a safety engineer with DOT, told the City Council last week the project is about “keeping local people alive.” What better reason to proceed with the project.

The project has been modified in recent months, but those changes will not change the goal of making that segment of road a safer segment of road.

“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,” DOT spokesman Dwayne Alligood told the council last week.

Making those improvements will disrupt traffic along that section of road. While that project is under way, motorists and others will complain. That’s human nature. The end result will be improved traffic flow and safety. Nothing wrong with that, is there?

Of course, some business owners along the section of road to be improved will complain that work on the project would impede customer traffic to their businesses. They likely will be right. If making those improvements means that section of road will be safer, then we should take safety over any inconvenience for merchants and motorists without any second thoughts.

This project will save lives. Enough said.