Accidents by the numbers at Fifth and Market

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Drivers can't seem to avoid the Kenan Fountain in downtown Wilmington, and now, the North Carolina Department of Transportation could be aiding in the effort to enhance the intersection at Fifth and Market.

A study by the states Department of Transportation shows 71 accidents have happened around the fountain since April 2008. Only 19 of them involved a driver directly damaging the fountain, with all but one of them happening at night

Wilmington City leaders approved more than $8,000 earlier this year to add extra lights to the intersection. Now, the DOT is making some suggestions of its own.

DOT reps are expected to present their findings to the Wilmington MPO, along with plans for new lights, signs and lane markers.

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said he welcomes any effort to protect the Kenan Fountain and secure the busy intersection. He said he doesn't mind making more changes.

"As many as we need to have to keep that fountain there," he said. "It's something that I've grown up with in the community. It's something that really makes downtown."

Second to direct fountain hits, illegal left turns and u-turns are listed as the most prevalent accident at Fifth and Market. DOT suggestions for the problem include mini-markers for the pavement to keep drivers in their lanes as they cruise past the fountain.

Out of 71 crashes, DOT research shows that none of them are fatal.

These numbers and the suggestions driven by them are expected to be presented to the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization.

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