FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. -- Vance Road is a windy, 45 mph state-maintained road rolling through the countryside of Forsyth County, near Kernersville. But, of late, it’s become the site of several crashes where vehicles left the roadway and were unable to regain control.
“You hear gravel flying and you hear tires screeching and you’re waiting for a bang,” said Kenny Childress, who has felt the effects of the crashes first-hand.
Earlier in 2018, a pickup truck went off the road and slammed into the front porch of Childress’ home, causing he and his wife, Debbie, to have a new porch constructed.
“It just shook the whole house.” “The whole house literally shook,” Kenny and Debbie recalled, in order.
On Monday, an 18-wheeler left the roadway in the opposite direction, narrowly missing a tree in the Childress’ yard before coming to a stop in their neighbor’s yard across the street.
“This morning it just kept on bumping, so you knew it was gonna be bad,” Debbie said. “I was afraid to look out the window.”
The couple says Monday’s accident was at least the seventh they’ve seen in the area.
“Even running 45 mph around that curve, that’s a little bit fast to me I think,” Kenny said.
In June, the NCDOT repaved the road. Although it made the surface smoother and safer, the Childress family and neighbors say it created another issue.
In some areas, the asphalt has been raised to the point that it’s about nine inches above the shoulder. If a vehicle leaves the roadway, as was the case with Monday’s wreck, it’s nearly impossible to regain control.
“The curb is just so high and if you run off you can’t save it,” Debbie said.
The NCDOT says they “were not aware of any of the recent wrecks that are [mentioned] and will look into the conditions surrounding those recent accidents.”
They add the contractor rebuilt the shoulders when the road was repaved and say they will take a look at the shoulders to ensure they have not washed away. They also plan to review the accident history on the road to see if there are “any discernible patterns that could be addressed with some type [of] larger safety project.”
“I would hope they would come out and look at it and try to figure something out,” Debbie said. “Before somebody really gets hurt.”
Most importantly, the NCDOT says if you have a concern about state-maintained roadways, visit their website, ncdot.gov, and click “Contact Us” to report them.
“If we don’t hear about it, we don’t know,” an NCDOT spokesperson said.