Pitt County man wants change at 'dangerous intersection' - WFLA News Channel 8

Pitt County man wants change at 'dangerous intersection'

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STOKES, N.C. - A death trap - that's how Ricky Nicholson describes the intersection near his home in Stokes.

"It’s not if somebody else gets killed out here, it's when somebody else is going to die," Nicholson says. "If you're not familiar with this area and you're running 55 miles per hour, talking on the phone, texting, the next thing you know someone side-swiped you and knocked you into the ditch."

Department of Transportation statistics show over the past five years, there have been six collisions at the intersection of Hwy 30 and Oakley Road. Three of them happened last year, with one of them turning fatal when a pick-up truck ran a stop sign.

"You can still see some pieces of the vehicle right there," Nicholson says as he revisits the crash site.

With a speed limit of 55 miles per hour, Hwy 30 drivers don't have to stop, while those driving along Oakley Road do. But Nicholson says some people don't realize they're approaching a stop sign until it's too late.

"It don't make any sense that there's been that many accidents in one intersection and nothing's been done about it,” he says.

Nicholson believes the key to preventing more crashes would be to install a warning sign up the road or put rumble strips across the road to warn people they're approaching a stop sign at the intersection.

So 9 On Your Side asked DOT Division Traffic Engineer Steve Hamilton to take a closer look. He says the stop signs at the intersection are already oversized, and by national standards, the DOT can only install a warning sign if something like a hill or curve blocks the driver's view of a stop sign.

He says that isn't the case here.

"There's plenty of sight distance approaching it so there wouldn't be a reason why a motorist wouldn't be able to see the sign, so just putting up another sign isn't going to do any good," he says.

But Nicholson says that's not good enough, so we brought the two men together to talk about other possible solutions.

"Is there anything you can promise him going forward in terms of what the DOT is going to do about this?" 9 On Your Side’s Katie Banks asked Hamilton.

"I will say one thing I noticed on the way here, there is an advance warning of the side-road symbol sign,” Hamilton says. “And I thought to myself, I wonder if they're looking at that and forgetting about the intersection that they're crossing over. And so I’m probably going to take that down."

Less than one hour later, Hamilton called to say DOT crews would remove that side-road sign by the end of the day. He hopes it eliminates any potential distractions and helps people focus only on the stop sign. He also promises to continue monitoring the intersection.

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