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What is up with the ‘Stay In Your Lane’ signs along the highway at the Leland overpass?

Patrick Gannon

In early May 2009, DOT crews painted solid white lane lines in the Wilmington-bound merge areas where U.S. 17 meets U.S. 74/76 and where traffic from the N.C. 133 exit at Leland merges with U.S. 17/74/76. They also put up “Stay in Your Lane” signs in those areas.

Allen Pope, N.C. Department of Transportation division engineer, said the goal is to keep traffic in the right lane from moving into the left lane in those merge areas so that left-lane traffic flows smoothly without disruption from right-lane traffic moving over. Theoretically, if people abide by the lane markings, cars in the left lane shouldn’t have to slow down or stop in those merge areas, Pope said.

Interestingly, the “Stay in Your Lane” signs are only an advisory, or recommendation, to motorists. Pope said motorists couldn’t be cited for changing lanes in those merge areas, but could be charged with careless and reckless driving or some other offense if they create a problem on the roadway. That sounds like a pretty strong recommendation.

DOT officials acknowledged that the changes are a test project, and they’re uncertain whether they’ll help move traffic any better through those areas. But, they hope it will help calm rush-hour congestion before any large-scale improvements are made, such as adding a third lane in either direction on U.S. 17/74/76 in Brunswick County.

User-contributed question by:
Jamie Moncrief

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One Response to “ What is up with the ‘Stay In Your Lane’ signs along the highway at the Leland overpass?”

  1. On June 15, 2009 at 6:30 pm Angie Taylor wrote:

    If the cars in the right hand lane can’t move over, how do the cars coming up the on ramp from Leland get on the highway? No one will let them in. Now you have a back log into Leland. More lanes is the only option.

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