by: Stephanie Coueignoux Updated:
HARRISBURG, N.C. - Harrisburg city officials are fighting to get a traffic light installed at the intersection of Tom Query and Robinson Church roads.
They told Channel 9 it's a safety issue.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation even admitted the area needs one.
More than 17,000 drivers typically use this intersection every day, said the DOT.
"I cringe every time I come through here," said driver Barbara Eatman.
That number has only increased since last September, when this DOT road-widening project began.
Harrisburg Councilman Chad Baucom says the city has repeatedly asked DOT officials to install a traffic light.
“Either direction you're going to have not a blind curve, but a blind hill. Depending on how aggressive you are making a left turn, that will determine your fate," Baucom said.
State lawmakers have also asked for a traffic light at the intersection.
Channel 9 obtained a letter from the North Carolina Department of Transportation to Rep. Larry Pittman that states, "Given the traffic volumes and crash history at the intersection, we support your request. “We will pursue a project at this location once a funding source can be identified.”
The Department of Transportation did agree to station three deputies at the intersection just to make sure accidents don't happen.
The deputies have been there since September working two hours during the afternoon rush five days a week.
A DOT spokeswoman told Channel 9 they've hired them for 325 days at a cost of $71,175.
Channel 9 asked how much it would cost to install a traffic signal and turn lanes. They told us they are still assessing the cost.
“I think the best use of taxpayer money would be improving the intersection and short of that, it's not a solution to a long-term problem," Baucom said.
A DOT spokeswoman told Channel 9 the project is expected to last through April 2015.
If needed, the DOT will extend the deputies contracts.
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