Jones responds to NC 11 & 11 issue

Published 8:40 pm Friday, December 17, 2010

RALEIGH – In their most recent meeting, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners voted to adopt a resolution that will ask the Department of Transportation (DOT) to re-open the NC 11&11 intersection, remove the mound of dirt and install a stoplight at the highway junction.

That decision was reported in the Tuesday, Dec. 14 edition of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. The story included comments made by several Hertford County Commissioners regarding the role that District 4 State Senator Ed Jones played in their decision-making process. Several commissioners questioned Jones’ commitment to the wishes of the local board. One, Commission Vice-Chair Curtis Freeman, went as far as to say, “I am tired of people in Raleigh, DOT, and everybody else making decisions for our county without including this board. That’s what wrong with things now…they know what’s best for us. If we’re going to start sitting back and let other people make decisions for our county without including us then we all need to step off the board and let the state run Hertford County.”

In response to the Hertford County Commissioners, Jones issued a press release received Friday by the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

“The closing of NC 11 & 11 focused on reducing the number of accidents occurring at that particular intersection,” Senator Jones said in the release. “Back in August, DOT changed the crossroads to a “T” intersection.  When the Hertford County Commissioners expressed their concerns to me about why they were not included in the decision to close NC 11&11, I informed them that I would follow-up with DOT regarding their concern and at their request, inquire about getting a stoplight there. 

“Over the past few months, my office has worked diligently to communicate with DOT about this issue,” Jones continued.  “According to DOT, the modifications made to NC 11&11 were to remain in place for one year.  At that time, DOT would reevaluate the situation and determine how best to reconfigure the intersection.”

Jones explained why he sought a resolution from the local commissioners, one that clearly outlined the reasons why they sought changes to the work DOT performed four months ago at NC 11 & 11. 

“I asked the Commissioners to send me a resolution to deliver it to DOT as part of the official request,” Jones stated. “I cannot speak for DOT, but anytime a request is made of my office, I prefer it to be made in writing. I have submitted the resolution to the traffic engineering section to take in consideration the request for a stoplight to be part of their determination.”

Jones also referenced the powers of the Department of Transportation as stated in Statute #136 18, which are the authority and general supervision over all matter relating to the construction, maintenance, and design of State transportation projects, letting of contracts therefore, and the selection of materials to be used in the construction of State transportation projects under the authority of this Chapter.

“As your state Senator, my job is to ensure that all of our local leaders have a voice in Raleigh,” Jones remarked. “I cannot, however, make decisions regarding local issues.  My concern is that if the wrong decisions are made, then more accidents could occur at the NC 11&11 intersection.”

Jones closed by saying, “However, I must caution everyone that DOT has established a timeframe regarding this issue.  DOT has well-trained engineers that have expertise in these very issues.  I would recommend that we allow those engineers to do their job and come up with the best solution for the intersection. At the end of the day, I will continue to support the Hertford County Commissioners in whatever decision they decide, to make Hertford County a safe place to live and work.”

Senator Jones represents Senatorial District 4, which includes the counties of Bertie, Chowan, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Northampton and Perquimans.