LUMBERTON — Lumberton Senior High School students and others trying to cross busy Fayetteville Road near the high school will have to wait a little longer for a pedestrian crosswalk.
The crosswalk that includes a Walk/Don’t Walk sign was expected to be in place by the start of the 2017-2018 school year, but that is not going to happen, said Chuck Miller, district engineer for the N.C. Department of Transportation. The project will not be competed in time for the opening of school in late August because DOT engineers have not completed all of the necessary design work.
“We have a unit in Raleigh that does the design work on signal revisions,” Miller said. “They have more projects and design work to do than was expected, so it is taking them longer. They are, however, accelerating the project as fast as possible.”
A completion date was not known as of late this past week.
The need to enhance safety for students and others crossing Fayetteville Road was brought to Miller’s attention more than a year ago by state Rep. Charles Graham. Students walk into the street between cars during the morning and afternoon without any safety measures in place, the lawmaker said. After much discussion between transportation officials and the City of Lumberton, an agreement on a plan and funding for a crosswalk was reached.
Miller said the DOT is providing the $260,000 needed to install the pedestrian crossing sign. The city will pay for sidewalks and fencing once DOT determines the cost, City Manager Wayne Horn said.
DOT’s decision to approve the project was based on the large number of vehicles and pedestrians that use Fayetteville Road. Miller said DOT is going to look for a way to fund another crosswalk project in the future along Linkhaw Road as it nears Fayetteville Road near a convenience store that students visit frequently.
Lumberton Councilman Leroy Rising, a former DOT employee, was instrumental in getting city officials to support the project. He said Friday that doing something to improve safety for students crossing Fayetteville Road has been needed for a long time.
“We had hoped it would be done by the beginning of the school year, but as a result of other projects the DOT is working on it has been delayed,” Rising said. “But at least we are getting it. We need to be patient…This is a tremendous improvement. It’s a good safety project that we have needed for a long time. It’s not going to benefit just our children. It is for all pedestrians.”
Bob shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.