SEAGROVE, N.C. -- It used to be, you couldn’t get there, without passing through Seagrove.
The charming little town – known, worldwide, for its master potters – drew folks from just about everywhere as they headed somewhere.
“In 1995, there was no stoplight, there was no bypass,” says Phil Morgan, one of those master potters. “And we saw 400,000 visitors a year and they came right through town.”
But, in the years since, construction has been completed on the U.S. 220 Bypass around Seagrove and many of the folks who used to stop in and buy some pottery fly right by.
It’s another set of drivers that keeps barreling through.
“Starts, usually, about 3:30 in the morning, goes until, sometimes 11, 12 at night,” says David Fernandez, the town’s mayor.
He’s talking about the trucks – many of them, big 18-wheelers – that often use the town as a cut-through. Fernandez wants to get that traffic under control.
“I'd say, for me, it's a major priority. I am a potter, myself. I make my living selling to the tourists who come in town and I want them to be safe,” he says.
Fernandez wouldn’t mind if all the truckers would follow the example of Chief Trucking, which is based there in Seagrove.
“They're actually really good neighbors,” says Fernandez. “They're really respectful, they don't use their engine breaks.”
One of their trucks rolls by, on Highway 705, as Fernandez sits on the side of the road, one afternoon. “See, he's not speeding, he's not using his engine breaks,” he notes.
The city is working on some solutions.
“We're trying to make the town a walking community,” says Fernandez.
But they’re not there, just yet.
Meanwhile, the trucks keep coming through, at the rate of more than 500 a day, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
“They do tend to rush through town,” says Morgan.
See the problem that creates in this edition of the Buckley Report.