GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Getting onto U.S. 421 in Guilford County used to involve crossing four lanes of high speed traffic.
Early this week, a new exit ramp opened, hoping to improve safety for drivers. The new interchange is at exit 196 for both north and southbound lanes, near Neelley Road and Williams Dairy Road.
“It was a really dangerous traffic situation,” NCDOT Resident Engineer Kris Lorenz said. “It’s a lot smoother getting on and off now.”
“And sometimes the trees weren’t cut, so you had to pull around and pull out a little bit farther than you wanted to,” nearby resident Dorothy Cunningham said. “Now everything is just magnificent. I love it.”
But some worry that not enough has been done to improve safety.
At least two wrecks at the new interchange have been reported in the past few days.
“Just because it’s a new road, people aren’t 100 percent paying attention,” Lorenz said.
She added that NCDOT is looking into ways to improve safety and is discussing the possibility of adding a stoplight at the top of the exit ramp.
“We’ve done a few more things yesterday,” Lorenz said. “Installed some new stop signs. Our traffic guys are out here looking at it today to see what else we can do. I know they’re looking at a potential for a stoplight there.”
Lorenz said confusion is common with road changes, but she hopes people will use extra caution in the unfamiliar setting.
“If everyone can slow down, be a little patient with us, pay attention — that’d help tremendously.”
Minor construction work in the area will continue for approximately six weeks, Lorenz said.