HC Board concerned over ‘11&1’ plan

Published 8:41 am Tuesday, August 3, 2010

WINTON – Members of the Hertford County Board of Commissioners are excited about the possibility of safety improvements at the intersection of N.C. 11 and N.C. 11.

Many of them are not, however, pleased with the plan presented by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

The plan, according to a letter sent from DOT Division Traffic Engineer Donald Chad Edge III to Hertford County Manager Loria Williams, will be to transform the 11 & 11 junction from a crossroads to a T-intersection. To accomplish that goal, DOT will close off a portion of SR 1213 (Old NC 11) from Deerwoods Road (SR 1215) to the southeast side of the 11 & 11 intersection. That will prevent any traffic, traveling north or south between Ahoskie and Murfreesboro, from crossing the intersection.

With that intersection blocked off on its southeast side, motorists on US 13 attempting to access NC 11 can choose two options – use the Modlin Road (SR 1130) or the Shortcut Road (SR 1212).

“I am glad DOT is looking at 11 and 11,” said Commissioner Howard J. Hunter III. “The problem I have with it is why couldn’t the same red light at Modlin Hatchery and U.S. 13 be put at 11 and 11. All you’re going to do is shift the accidents from one intersection to the other.”

Hunter said the letter addressed a proposed round-a-bout at 11 and 11, but then said the T-intersection would be the route taken.

“It says it will reduce accidents,” Hunter said. “Yes, it will – at that intersection. What about Modlin-Hatchery and 11. You are creating another accident road.

“The only people that will benefit from this is Jernigan Towing because they are the closest ones to that intersection,” Hunter added.

Commission Chairman Johnnie R. Farmer said he had been working on the issue for a number of years. He said, the original plan was to dig up the crossover at 11 and 11 and make it inaccessible. Now, there will only be a pile of dirt placed there to keep cars from entering the intersection.

“That’s where people have been killing themselves,” Farmer said. “They want to stop them from shooting across the intersection. Now they’ll have to stop and turn left or right.”

Commissioner Curtis Freeman said he agreed with Hunter.

“We’re moving the death trap from one intersection to the other,” he said.

Hertford County Manager Loria D. Williams said she hoped DOT had studied all of the potential problems and performed a traffic study before making the decision.

Hunter said he didn’t think a study was done.

Freeman said his concern was that even more traffic would be added to the intersection at Modlin Hatchery and N.C. 11 because there was already traffic from Roanoke-Chowan Community College.

“You’re going to have the college traffic, plus all the traffic from 11 and 11,” he said.

Farmer said he would like to see the board give DOT an opportunity to see if the fix worked. He said the real answer was overpasses, which was a long way down the line.

Hunter said he knew it was a state-level decision, but he simply didn’t agree with it.

Commissioner William F. Mitchell Jr. said he was also concerned about the amount of Murfreesboro traffic that would now go through Union in their travels to Ahoskie.

“If the Murfreesboro traffic goes through Union, you’re also going to have problems at that intersection,” he said.

Hunter said he agreed.

“People are going to find the quickest way to get where they’re going,” he said.

Farmer said he would make the board’s concerns known to local DOT officials.

Commissioner Ronald Gatling asked if there was any consultation of local officials on the decision and Farmer said no more than the county relaying concerns about the intersection.

“There’s nothing really we can do except state our concerns,” Gatling said.

Freeman said local input was also a concern of his.

“I’ve often wondered when they make these decisions are they talking to the local highway patrol office and local law enforcement,” Freeman said. “They are the people who really know what is going on.

“All I can do is the same thing I’ve been doing, stay in prayer that no more lives are lost,” he said.

Farmer said he would personally pass on the board’s thoughts and, if necessary, follow up with a letter.