The N.C. Department of Transportation has approved a traffic light at the new intersection of South Main Street, Ralph Stephens Road and Piney Grove Wilbon Road.
The town and NCDOT are fast-tracking installation, slashing months off the usual time required by starting with wooden poles instead of custom-designed metal ones.
The extension of South Main Street to a realigned Piney Grove Wilbon Road opened in early August, providing a new route through southwestern Holly Springs and alleviating traffic congestion on Avent Ferry Road. However, several accidents have occurred at the new intersection. Police said some drivers have failed to stop for stop signs on Ralph Stephens Road despite numerous warning devices.
Town officials received approval of the traffic light Tuesday morning, the day after submitting traffic count and accident data required to meet state criteria for a traffic light. To save time further, the town submitted engineering plans while DOT reviewed the town’s request for a traffic light.
Town officials believe timesaving measures could have a traffic light up and running in less than two months instead of the usual six to nine months.
Town Manager Chuck Simmons said he was pleased with DOT’s approval of the light and thanked state transportation officials for helping to expedite installation.
“Safety is our overriding concern,” he said.
NCDOT Division Engineer Joey Hopkins agreed.
“We are glad the department and the town could work quickly together to come up with a solution to improve the safety for drivers and their passengers at that intersection,” he said.
Five accidents have been reported at the intersection. Accidents occurred even after the addition of message boards, rumble strips, additional stop signs, and other measures to attract drivers’ attention.
During planning and design for Main Street extension, the town asked for a traffic light for the intersection of Main Street, Piney Grove Wilbon Road, and Ralph Stephens Road.
Traffic forecasts completed during design did not show that the roadway met state criteria for a traffic light. Therefore, the town and DOT agreed to a new analysis after opening using actual traffic counts. In response to accidents, the town moved immediately on the new analysis.
The town built the Main Street extension and intersection in partnership with NCDOT. The roadway will be part of the state’s transportation system. That is why DOT has final say over road design and the traffic control plan. DOT provided most of the funding for the roadway through federal grants.