Area residents had the chance to weigh in on a proposed redesign of U.S. 601 last Thursday. NCDOT held a public meeting at Yadkinville Elementary School regarding a project to construct medians and roundabouts along U.S. 601 from U.S. 421 to Lee Avenue in Yadkinville.
David Uchiyama, NCDOT communications director, said the evening was spent explaining and educating attendees about the project, which is slated for bid in 2021.
“We’ve explained the dramatic safety increases, how roundabouts work as well as the impacts that this is going to have for the community,” Uchiyama said.
The purpose of the project is to improve mobility and safety along U.S. 601, according to North Carolina Department of Transportation officials. At the meeting, the preliminary design for the project was available for view and the public was asked to share input on the proposed design.
Crash report data compiled by NCDOT is a large part of the decision to make changes to the section of road, said NCDOT Division 11 Project Manager Dean Ledbetter. From 2012 to 2016, there were 172 crashes on the section of road from U.S. 421 to Lee Street in Yadkinville, with afternoon from 2 to 7 p.m. being the peak time for those wrecks. Ledbetter said that crash rate is more than twice the statewide rate for a given roadway.
“The proposed design would include a median island along U.S. 601 between U.S. 421 and Lee Street that would control movement so that we don’t end up with left-turn movement into all the driveways along that section and then we are proposing to construct roundabouts at the three intersections north of 421 at the northbound on and off ramps where Pine Street ties in and at Maple Street and Lee Street, which would give people opportunity to make a U-turn,” Ledbetter explained.
The term Super Street is what Ledbetter said is often used to describe a roadway with a center median island, this design is what he refers to as a Modified Super Street. Ledbetter said the inclusion of roundabouts to make it easier for drivers to make U-turns is what makes this particular project so unique.
Ledbetter said he was pleased with the turnout at the meeting at the willingness of participants to listen as DOT staff explained the project.
“We’ve been very pleased with the receptiveness of people to think about what we’re proposing,” he said.
Comments and questions are a critical part of project development and refining the proposal. Comments made by March 30 will be considered as a final decision is being made.
Contact Dean Ledbetter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-903-9129 or 801 Statesville Road, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659, to submit a comment or for additional information.
Plans can be viewed as they become available online at http://www.ncdot.gov/projects/publicmeetings.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.