The traffic light at Sampson Community College will stay right where it is, Sen. Brent Jackson said Tuesday, noting the “overwhelming” amount of the populous in favor of keeping the light at that location.
Jackson said he gathered information and citizen feedback in recent weeks regarding the stoplight on N.C. 24 at SCC and Forest Drive in coming to the conclusion — he has passed those feelings on to N.C. Department of Transportation officials.
“The citizens have overwhelmingly spoken in favor of leaving the light where it is,” Jackson stated in a press release to The Independent. “When I was approached about moving this light I never imagined I would have the clout with the NCDOT to control the stop light’s location on Highway 24, but I did make the suggestion to look at alternatives. With that in mind, I would never entertain the idea of doing anything so crucial that could affect the lives of our citizens without listening to what they have to say.”
Jackson said the issue arose from the pending relocation of the stoplight at Sampson Crossing to Overland Road. A suggestion was made to move the light from SCC and Forest Drive to Airport Road.
“This would have alleviated the safety concerns I have for the students and faculty of SCC from the folks commuting on Airport Road during busy times of the day cutting through the college campus to reach the stop light,” Jackson said. “However, in discussing this with SCC Board of Trustees Chairman Larry Barnes, he has assured me that additional speed bumps could be installed to help control the speed on the Sampson Community College campus.”
The senator said, with speed bumps in place, he believes traffic will be controlled, making that the best solution for the area since DOT regulations state that stoplights cannot be located but so close together and having them at every intersection is not possible.
The prospect of the traffic light moving prompted the SCC Board of Trustees to seek information from DOT officials last month, at which time SCC officials expressed their desire to see the light stay put. Last week, the Sampson Community College Board of Trustees threw its unanimous support behind the state’s current N.C. 24 project proposal that would keep the traffic light at the college, as well as its similarly unanimous preference of an entrance reconfiguration featuring a roundabout to improve traffic flows and cut down on traffic stacking problems.
N.C. 24 is expected to get much busier with the widening project, which proposes a four-lane roadway stretching for 40 miles, from Cumberland County to Interstate 40 near Warsaw, divided by a median and with interchanges constructed at major crossroads.
Currently funded sections extend to Faircloth Freeway in Clinton. Ground will be broken on the first section in Cumberland late this year. The others will be bid out next June, according to DOT officials. Ground is set to be broken in Sampson in September 2013. Jackson said Tuesday with such a major project coming through the district, he wanted to ensure all options were entertained locally and all voices heard.
“My job as an elected official is to listen to the people and to do what we all feel is in the best interest of the entire community,” Jackson said. “I think my record shows that with my open-door policy I have done my best to listen to their concerns and act in their best interest. However, in order to put this issue to rest, the stoplight will remain where it is.”
He said his decision has been shared with Karen Fussell, division engineer for DOT’s Division 3, which includes Sampson.
“I appreciate everyone’s input into this discussion,” the senator stated, “and I hope that everyone will be happy with the decision to leave the stop ights where NCDOT has chosen to put them.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.