Q. Why do two lanes of traffic west-to-east on U.S. 17/74/76 merge to ONE lane if the Cape Fear Bridge is closed, only to go back to TWO lanes to the Isabel Holmes Bridge? This seems to increase potential for accidents, increase frustration and cause unnecessary delays. Didn’t anyone think about this before closing the second lane? I noticed this on Sunday, Sept. 30.
A. The N.C. Department of Transportation is working on a solution to the problem, said Benjamin T. Hughes, Division 3 assistant resident engineer.
“This has been a question we have received from many concerned citizens. The observed traffic control configuration had been utilized a number of times for all nightly Memorial Bridge closures for the past couple years and had worked fine during the night when traffic volumes were low,” Hughes said.
“This was not the case during the recent weekend closure when traffic volumes were significantly higher and exceeded the capacity that one lane was able to handle,” he said. “The configuration of the existing striping on the road did not allow for two lanes to exit into two lanes at the same time safely.”
UPDATE: N.C. DOT plans to use barrels to create a two-lane exit from eastbound on the causeway onto U.S. 421 when it closes the bridge Oct. 12-15.
Date posted: October 6, 2012
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