OAK RIDGE, N.C. (WGHP) — Town leaders in Oak Ridge and Stolesdale are addressing traffic safety concerns after two young people have been killed in separate pedestrian crashes on Haw River Road.
A press release states that leaders in Oak Ridge and Stokesdale have received NCDOT’s accident report and analysis of road conditions and traffic in the crash that killed 14-year-old Aliyah Thornhill while she was trick or treating.
“They are grateful for NCDOT’s efforts, and for the concern and sympathy the agency has shown for Aliyah’s family. Both towns, together with residents across Guilford County, share these concerns, and are now prepared to move forward with safety improvements,” the release says.
According to the release, NCDOT says that wet, foggy conditions were present the night of the crash that killed Aliyah Thornhill, and concluded that speed was not a contributing factor in this wreck.
Noah Chambers was also hit and killed while trick or treating on Haw River Road, but NCDOT said that “the circumstances of the two accidents were very different.” The release goes on to say that historic data for the Haw River Road area didn’t reveal any “unusual accident patterns.”
NCDOT’s Analysis of Haw River Road
According to the release, an analysis of speed and traffic from NCDOT stated that higher speeds are “most prevalent” in the non-residential areas west of Linville Road, but drivers slow down as they come east to more residential areas.
The agency does not recommend a lower speed limit, saying that the 45-mile-per-hour limit on Haw River Road, which is 3.65 miles long and spans two counties, is already lower than the recommend 50-mile-per-hour speed limit.
The next steps
“Understanding that residents of Oak Ridge and Stokesdale remain interested in increasing
safety on Haw River Road, NCDOT recommended other strategies to slow traffic,” the release stated.
The town council of Oak Ridge approved a permanent digital radar sign on Haw River Road on a meeting Thursday.
“The radar sign will be placed east of Linville Road to help slow drivers as they approach the more residential portions of the road,” explained Oak Ridge Mayor Ann Schneider, adding that the project could serve as a pilot for adding similar signs on key roads.
Oak Ridge has also reached out to the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office about the speeding issues.
Stokesdale leaders approved NCDOT-provided pedestrian warning signs for the eastern portion of Haw River Road near Highway 68.
“We hope that adding these signs will help alert drivers to pedestrians and cyclists in the area,” said Stokesdale Mayor Mike Crawford.
Due to ADA compliance and a lack of sidewalks, lighted pedestrian crosswalks are not an option
“Both Oak Ridge and Stokesdale will also investigate pedestrian safety awareness programs for residents, with input from NCDOT and Guilford County, together with other strategies for improving safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and motor vehicles,” the release concludes.