In a letter sent to Yadkinville Police Chief Tim Parks, NCDOT reported traffic volumes are not sufficient to necessitate an alteration of the light's current operation.
"Based on the traffic counts obtained for this location, a left-turn signal phase for southbound US 601 is not warranted due to traffic volume," read a letter from NCDOT and submitted to the Ripple by Chief Parks.
Yadkinville Mayor Hubert Gregory offered his view of the intersection and the reasons for the request, made originally in 1996, to change the traffic light's operation.
"We have approximately 19,000 vehicles that travel through the intersection at Lee Street, and often times you have to sit through that light two or three times before the traffic traveling north clears enough to safely make a left turn onto Lee Street," said Gregory.
Earlier in the month, local residents who took notice of the state vehicle parked at the intersection appearing to count vehicles turning at the intersection made comments to the town board of commissioners and the local police department that the 'counter' was not there during the hours when the most traffic is trying to maneuver through the intersection.
One resident, who wished to remain anonymous said that "the vehicle from the state was there in mid-afternoon when everybody was at work, and before the regular business hours were over when the intersection becomes extremely dangerous for left-turn vehicles, the DOT man was gone. How do they expect to get an accurate count if they're only here for an hour in mid-afternoon?"
Gregory echoed the nameless resident's observation of the state's traffic counting method.
"The state has the automatic counters that it can use, but if you go down there and watch in the morning, at lunch time and in the afternoon when people are getting off work and trying to get home, you can see just how hard it is to turn left," Gregory said. "Over the years, the (N. C.) DOT has had different directors and different people who you have to send the request to, but they continue to deny it."
Parks submitted a request to NCDOT at the beginning of the year stating that there had been many complaints from residents of the area and that there had been numerous accidents at the intersection.
NCDOT Division Engineer M. A. Pettyjohn in his response letter said that a review of the reported accidents at the intersection over the past five years showed there were 29 accidents reported, but showed only one accident that might have been prevented by the installation of a left-turn phase. The letter stated that for these reasons the NCDOT did not recommend the installation of a left-turn signal light.
"This has been going on for the last 12 years," Gregory said. "We don't have an appeal process for the decision, we just have to make the request again. We will probably send out another request at the end of the year or earlier, but we will continue to try.
"Many of our residents feel the left hand signal light is needed and the town tries to listen to its residents requests," he said. "If I tell someone I'll do something, I do it or try my best to. We just don't seem to be able to make it clear to the DOT why we need this light. Another thing about that intersection is when traveling north on (U. S.) 601 toward Lee Street, the lanes narrow and it's crowded when you make it to the intersection. When DOT widened the road for some reason, they didn't stay with the same width on the lanes.
"We want the residents to know that we will continue our efforts with a signal light at that intersection, but it just may take longer than we had hoped."
In other town news, the Yadkin Town Board of Commissioners met for their first budget meeting with instructions to the Town Manager Joseph Sloop to work on a budget that would not require an increase in taxes.
"The board is looking at not having a tax increase or an increase in water rates," Sloop said. "We've just began the process, but I believe we'll be able to work projects in that the board members would like to work on."
The next meeting of the Yadkinville Town Board of Commissioners is at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 4.