County asks for study of Baltimore Road traffic

Published 9:01 am Thursday, November 9, 2017

Imagine hearing the crash in front of your house, going outside to find three teen-agers who had lost their life, and a neighbor who was hanging on.

That’s what happened on Oct. 7 to some residents along Baltimore Road in Advance. And while heartbroken, it set them into action.

On Monday night, the Citizens for A Safer Baltimore Road brought their concerns to the county commissioners, asking for flashing lights, a stoplight at the Ashley Furniture entrance, no passing zones … anything to slow down traffic.

The speed limit on Baltimore Road, as it is on most roads in rural Davie, is 55 mph. That’s too fast – way too fast – they said.

“We understand there is nothing we can do if a licensed driver takes it upon themselves to drive 100 mph down a straightaway regardless of the speed limit,” said Cathy Hanes Crist. “However, there are many ways to remind travelers, to caution them, and bring awareness, as they drive and offer visible precautions.”

Henry Whitaker, that neighbor who was involved in the Oct. 7 wreck, said the problem became really bad when Ashley Furniture located there. “You might as well say it’s a main thoroughfare.”

Whitaker suggested people look at the black marks on the road – from one end to the other – to realize the problem.

Crist said it isn’t uncommon for trucks to pull out in front of traffic at Ashley Furniture. She said the 55 mph speed limit may have been OK before Ashley Furniture and several new housing developments, but not now.

“It is a different place than when the 55 mph speed limit was designated,” she said.

“This is the most dangerous road in Davie County,” said David Huggins. He estimated that 60 percent of drivers travel over 55 mph, some routinely over 70 mph, and passing on double yellow lines is common. “It’s really a dangerous highway. We would appreciate anybody’s help in slowing the traffic down and making this a safer place.”

County commissioners agreed.

In fact, prior to the meeting, County Manager John Eller had contacted the N.C. Department of Transportation to do a study of Baltimore Road. While it is the DOT’s responsiblity to make speed limits, erect signs and stoplights, the county will continue to monitor the situation and express its concerns to the DOT, he said.