Speeders vs. children are cause for concern

Published 9:01 am Thursday, June 10, 2010

WINTON – The Hertford County Board of Commissioner will act on a safety issue brought to their attention here Monday.

At the board’s regularly scheduled meeting, Tuscarora Beach resident Marshall Askew expressed concern over the safety of pedestrians, especially children, walking along the only paved road that serves the beach area.

Askew, a former Hertford County Commissioner now retired, said motorists using Tuscarora Beach Road apparently have no regard to speed.

“They (motorists) drive wide open through there,” Askew claimed. “They come down that straightway and then go down the hill, hitting their brakes at the last second before the pavement turns to sand. It’s a death trap down there.”

A drive down Tuscarora Beach Road reveals no speed limit signs. According to state law, the speed limit on an unmarked road is 55 mph.

There is a “Watch for Children” warning sign at the edge of the road just before the hill. Just as motorists began their northern descent down the hill, another sign warns of “Road Ends 750 Feet.”

Starting from its intersection with River Road, east of Winton, the paved portion of Tuscarora Beach Road is approximately one mile in length.

“I’ve talked to the Highway Patrol about the safety issue and now I’m coming to you (commissioners) with this,” Askew said. “There are a lot of children and adult residents at the beach and the number of children will increase now that school is about to end. I’m asking that you study this, do something before someone gets hurt.”

Askew recommended a 35 mph speed limit on the majority of the road, slowing that down to 20 mph beginning at the crest of the hill towards the beach.

Commission Chairman Johnnie Ray Farmer said that the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the agency who maintains Tuscarora Beach Road, will not consider placing speed bumps there.

“They will not allow speed bumps on a public highway,” Farmer noted. “We can have a letter sent to the local DOT Traffic Engineer, Scott Edge, and let him send a team down there to study this.”

Farmer then requested Hertford County Manager Loria Williams to send the letter after the board, acting on a motion from Commission Vice-Chairman Curtis Freeman, approved that measure by a unanimous vote.