No changes planned at Ahoskie intersection

Published 6:25 pm Friday, April 22, 2022

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AHOSKIE – A traffic study conducted here at the intersection of Hayes Street and Catherine Street has resulted in a suggestion to keep the traffic movement as is currently maintained.

Ahoskie Police Chief Jimmy Asbell was asked by the Town Council at an earlier meeting this year to study the traffic using that intersection. That request came on the heels of a town citizen who spoke in public comment at the Town Council meeting in January. Colette Smith told the Council she was injured in an accident at that intersection on Dec. 31, 2021. She mentioned other accidents have occurred on occasion at that same intersection, one where there is a stop sign for motorists traveling east and west on Hayes Street.

As for the accident involving Smith, she said was traveling north on Catherine Street. Her vehicle was struck by a car traveling on Hayes Street. The driver of that vehicle failed to stop at the stop sign on Hayes Street, she said.

There was discussion among Council members about the possibility of creating a four-way stop at that intersection. That prompted a study by the Ahoskie Police about the traffic flows.

At last week’s meeting of the Ahoskie Town Council, Asbell presented his study of the intersection. He said that study, conducted over a period of two weeks, revealed a traffic count of 5,582 vehicles traveling on Hayes Street from March 11-18, and 4,442 vehicles traveling on Catherine Street from March 18-25.

“That’s a busy intersection,” Asbell noted.

The study also included the speed of the vehicles using those two streets in the vicinity of the intersection. The posted speed limit on both streets is 25 mph.

On Hayes Street, Asbell said the highest speed recorded was 36 mph and an average speed of 29 mph. On Catherine Street, the highest speed was 38 mph and the average was 19 mph.

“Looking at those results, does that say we need to make any adjustments at that intersection,” asked Councilman Roy Sharpe.

“It would be my recommendation, as I stated before, to increase the size of the stop signs [on Hayes Street),” Asbell replied. “We’ve already done that. The stop signs there are now bigger than what they were. We’re also putting in Stop Ahead signs and painting a stop bar [on the pavement]. All of that is on Hayes Street.”

Asbell said there are no other town-maintained streets with stop signs as large as the ones now in use on Hayes Street.

The Police Chief also said he went back into the department’s records and found reports of only five accidents at that intersection over the past two years.

“Those five accidents occurred over a five-week time period,” Asbell noted. “We went 18 months without an accident there, and there hasn’t been one there since Dec. 31 of last year.”

He said the problem associated with those accidents is driver attentiveness.

“I really think that if we go towards making an adjustment of the placement of the stop signs at that intersection, we’re going to wind up with more problems than we originally had,” Asbell said. “I think a four-way stop there will create more accidents.

“I think the same thing will happen if we reverse the traffic pattern there (moving the stop signs from Hayes to Catherine),” Asbell added. “The stop signs on Hayes Street at that location have been the same as long as I can remember and I’ve been here 28 years. Those that regularly travel through that intersection are use to that current pattern. Changing it will creature more problems.”

Town Council members took no action on the matter, basically agreeing to accept Asbell’s recommendation to keep the intersection as is, with the exception of the new signage and pavement markings.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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