WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – North College Road near Trask Middle School and Laney High School is a busy area with lots of concerns about pedestrian safety after two students were hit by cars there within the past three months.
“Anytime we deal with a location where there’s a school and potential for younger, whether that be drivers or pedestrians, you know, we take some special attention and care to those reviews and recommendations,” Jessi Leonard, a traffic engineer with NCDOT, said.
NCDOT said they have heard concerns on that stretch of road for years. The Municipal and School Transportation Assistance Unit (MSTA) recently completed a traffic study to see how they can improve safety in the school zone.
New Hanover County is already working on the design for a sidewalk that would run from Gordon Road to Northchase Parkway, as well as a new crosswalk near Trask Middle School at Danny Pence Drive.
NCDOT is now recommending a new traffic light be installed by the McDonald’s on North College Road and Long Ridge Drive, which would also include another crosswalk.
“This would allow us to give a safe and control crossing, in addition to the one at Danny Pence [Drive],” Leonard said. “We’re hopeful to get funding for that signal. It’s certainly not something that we are able to promise at this time. But again, we’re working towards that.”
The county is about 65% done with the design phase of this project and they hope to break ground sometime next year.
“Construction is expected to begin once design and right of way is complete, which is anticipated for 2024,” a spokesperson for New Hanover County said. “The county will apply for State or Federal matching grants for construction through WMPO if they are available.”
There will also be a signal upgrade at the crossing at Murrayville Rd./Bavarian Ln. & N. College Rd. The county funded the design and right-of-way work as part of the FY 2021-2022 and FY 2022-2023 budgets.
“We are we’re doing our best to get the necessary recommendations and countermeasures out there. But that we are hopeful that folks are, you know, going to take the necessary precautions themselves, whether they be a driver or pedestrian,” Leonard said.
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