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NCDOT adds clear road markings, makes stoplight fix downtown

An NCDOT safety improvement project resulted in clear highway markings on North King Street and "shading" of green lights so they're dimmer from far away. An NCDOT safety improvement project resulted in clear highway markings on North King Street and "shading" of green lights so they're dimmer from far away.

The busiest streets downtown also are confusing to some motorists, if crash statistics are an indicator.

And the cascade of stop lights of U.S. 64 also have contributed to crashes, when motorists see a signal a block ahead turn green and accidentally hit the gas.
That’s according to the NCDOT engineer who has been working with the city on solutions.
“The state came to us I guess it was two years ago” and presented the findings of traffic statistics and collisions, said City Manager John Connet. “This intersection at (U.S.) 64 and the two one-way streets are some of the worst intersections for traffic accidents. This is part of an attempt to try to reduce the number of accidents at those intersections.”
Large clear markings on North King Street spell out to motorists the three choices — U.S. 64 West, U.S. 25 North and U.S. 64 East. A fourth sign points motorists to turn right on U.S. 64 to reach I-26.

"We certainly have a lot at Seventh and King and Sixth and King," Police Chief Herbert Blake said of the city's crash rate. "We have more than we would like to have in those areas. I think it does help because it gives people advanced notice and they're not making sudden lane changes, which causes a lot of accidents. The markings should help people maneuver to where they need to be to make turns safely." Sometimes the right lane stacks up for several blocks before U.S. 64 East. "You just can't get over because of that and people are not as polite as you would like them to be."
The stoplights on U.S. 64 in either direction (Sixth and Seventh avenues) posed another problem for the safety engineers. The solution was the installation of louvers to shade the green light, making it appear much dimmer from one block away.

"That does happen," Blake of drivers responding to a green light at the next intersection. "I've actually noticed it because it's happened to me (that a driver inadvertently jumped a red light). People can make that mistake."

The DOT also added a flashing light on eastbound U.S. 64 warning of the stoplight at North Church Street and another on U.S. 64 West before the intersection at Ashe/Harris streets. The work was part of a project led by division traffic engineer Steve Buchanan to make safety improvements at intersections in Hendersonville that had high accident rates. Still to come are ground markings on southbound North Church Street before the intersection with Seventh and Sixth avenues, he said.

Chief Blake said "my hat's off" to the NCDOT for analyzing the features that are causing accidents and devising solutions.

"We hope this helps with these occurrences of crashes in those areas of the city," he said.