Residents warn of road dangers; county officials hope to help - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Residents warn of road dangers; county officials hope to help

Residents worry about cars driving too fast on Highway 11 Residents worry about cars driving too fast on Highway 11

PENDER COUNTY, NC - (WECT) - People on Highway 11 in the Willard community say the cars and trucks drive too fast. The Highway connects two large US Highways, and law enforcement officers say many use it cut-through.

Just one month ago, a crash killed three people, including a mother and her 6 year old daughter. According to the crash report, the car that hit the Giddens family was going 90 miles per hour.

Commissioner Jimmy Tate has been working with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to find ways to make the road safer, and now the Sheriff's Department says they'll have extra patrols out to make sure people follow the rules, and aren't speeding.

WECT's Bailey Hicks rode along with one officer, after driving on Highway 11 for about half an hour, they found one car going 70 miles per hour, where the speed limit is 55.

Neighbors say, cars travel that fast all the time.

"There is so much traffic and speeding through here," said Talley Saunders, who has lived in the community his whole life. "Its very scary, it's just scary, every time I'm on Highway 11, I am always fearing."

He says with the blind curves and driveways that spill into the highway, it's especially dangerous when big log trucks or even cars go barreling by. Just last month, when he was sitting at home, he heard a loud crash.

"It sounded like an explosion, it was like two booms," said Saunders.  Rushing outside he saw two cars crumpled and smashed and heard a child screaming from one of them. "It was just terrible, it was devastating to hear that little boy scream," said Saunders. He helped a neighbor break a window, and pull the boy out, but the boy's mother and sister, didn't make it.

"I never saw anything like it in my life, it was just something I never want to experience again," said Saunders. He says the speeding needs to stop. The sheriff's office says their patrols will be on the look out for it, as well as other types dangerous driving.

Commissioner Jimmy Tate says he and Saunders are hoping to get the speed limit in the area lowered. In the meantime, he and DOT talked about making several changes, including:

1-   NCDOT will take efforts to enhance the recognition of the existing 45 mph "advisory speed signs" before entering curve sections of the road.

2-   NCDOT will conduct a "Speed Study" along State Highway 11.

3-   NCDOT will evaluate and removal any "line of sight obstructing" debris along the road banks of State Highway 11 in problematic locations.

4-   NCDOT will ensure shoulders of the road are clean, thus improving adequate drainage during heavy rains.

5-   NCDOT will study improving the outer edge stripping and the possibility of a "wave edge" warning strip.

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