Speed lowered on University Drive in Elon

ELON, N.C. -- Back in March, an Elon University student on her morning jog was hit by a car when she crossed University Drive.

Unfortunately, over a 13 year period, Town of Elon Police believe 10 people have died on University Drive. Over the summer, the North Carolina Department of Transportation performed a traffic study.

NCDOT Division 7 Traffic Engineer Dawn McPherson shared some of the results of the study.

"There's a significant amount of traffic due to the university being very close and it's a North Carolina route," said McPherson. "It connects NC highway 87 to US highway 70."

To make University Drive safer for drivers and walkers, the DOT lowered the speed limit from 55 mph to 50 mph from Manning Avenue to NC highway 87 or West Webb Avenue in Elon.

"We didn't want to lower it too low because it is a four-lane divided facility," McPherson said. "But we didn't want it so high because there are pedestrians out there."

Along with a lower speed limit, the DOT added a backplate to the signal lights at North O'Kelly Avenue and at Shallowford Church Road.

"So if the sun is in your eyes, you can see the actual signal a little bit better," she said.

Another safety feature -- the yellow and white lines on University Drive are wider.

"We had four-inch white and yellow lines and we decided it would be safer to go to a six-inch line in those sections. So we made that improvement also."

The NCDOT is hoping the changes will make University Drive a safer street for commuters and walkers.

"If we find we still need to make improvements, we will go back out," McPherson said.

McPherson also said the wider six-inch yellow and white street markings will be added on all of the DOT's primary roads.

If you believe improvements need to be made on a DOT street near you, click here.