Judy spent all afternoon on the phone and seeing in person numerous people from City, County, and DOT trying to get signs up warning drivers of the new school opening and potential traffic problems. No one would or could do anything because of NCDOT rules or laws regarding signage. She continued to make calls through the weekend. Well, the Lieutenant Governor’s office and NC Senator Dan Soucek have pushed this issue and action is taking place at their behest through two other offices who called my mom early this morning.
In an email to Rebekah Bradley at Solutions(?), here is how we explained the problem:
“We are trying to get school zone signs put up on the road at William Lenoir Middle School – a new school that just opened 8/24/15. The public cannot see the school from the road when they pass the entrance. The public will not expect traffic to be stopped around the blind curve on Hwy-90/64.
“1) The road, Hwy-90/64, is being widened to 3 lanes and painted, but isn’t finished yet before school started.
On Friday afternoon, before the school opens on Monday morning, there is still a deep trench on the south side of Hwy-90/64.
“2) There is a blind curve on Hwy-90/64 that is to the East of the school that will hide slow or stopped traffic.
The end of the big blind curve from the east side of the school entrance. No school zone signs warning drivers of morning traffic congestion.
“3) The only signs up are green pedestrian signs on each side of the entrance to the school. No school signs.
Picture taken on Friday 8/21/15, before school opens on Monday, 8/24/15. These green pedestrian signs are all DOT will put up alerting drivers of any potential problems. No schools signs of any kind are up. In the far distance, looking towards Lenoir and Hwy-18, traffic backs up down there on a normal school morning already.
“4) To the East of the school, the speed limit with lowered from 55mph, as it was for decades, to 45 mph a mile away and 35 mph 1/2 mile away, but there are no school zone signs to let people traveling east on Hwy-90/64 there will be congested and stopped traffic around that blind curve.
Again from the east of the school entrance in the middle of the big blind curve with the NEW 35mph sign. No school zone warning.
“5) To the East of the school, there is going to be a very short turn (50-75 ft) lane to accommodate 400-500 students coming into the school. This traffic will potentially backup onto Hwy-18 and further snarl traffic and endanger young families.
This picture is from the east side of the school entrance looking towards Lenoir. This is the only straight part of this section of the road. Behind us is a big blind curve.
“6) To the West of the school, there is always traffic backups in the mornings at Hwy-90/64 and Hwy-18 when school is in session.
“It is very important that signs are posted to warn drivers BEFORE the blind curve there is a school entrance and traffic could be slowed or stopped. How can we get more than just pedestrian signs up in this location??”
To the east of the new school, on Hwy-90/64, traveling towards Lenoir, this is about 1 mile from the school. This is how far back DOT puts signs warning drivers of slow or stopped traffic as they work at the entrance to the school. Why wouldn’t we put up signs warning drivers of congested school zone traffic here??
Posted to facebook on Friday:
“New middle school opens Monday and there are no highway school signs up yet! The road is still being widened and currently one lane. Call lead group NC DOT in Wilkesboro 336.903.9133. Call NC DOT in Hudson 828.726.2512. There speed limit has been dropped recently from 55mph to 35mph – tickets issued immediately instead of warnings. There are no signs up warning people about the congested area around the curve, thus endangering young families and drivers. Call DOT about common sense signs and ask why the road isn’t finished being widened BEFORE school starts for safety reasons.”