South Dogwood Trail will be undergoing pavement improvements this week, rather than in mid-September, as previously announced, according to a notice released by the Town of Southern Shores this morning.
Contractor Fred Smith Co. was to begin its town-wide pavement work today on Twelfth Avenue and then proceed to Hillcrest Drive, between Sea Oats Trail and East Dogwood Trail, on Aug. 3-5, according to the schedule posted online by the Town.
Town Manager Cliff Ogburn will update the now-revised schedule for pavement work, which currently runs through mid-October, at tomorrow’s Town Council meeting, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Pitts Center.
This week’s work launches an ambitious 10-year road-maintenance plan that will cost more than $1 million per year.
CHANGE IN SPEED LIMIT ON N.C. 12?
We had not planned to return from our summer break until Wednesday, but we thought it was important for residents to know about the construction on South Dogwood Trail, in order to avoid it. Also, residents on the street will not have received much notice from the Town about its commencement.
Now that we’re online, we’ll tell you that the Town Council will be considering at tomorrow’s meeting a change in the speed limit on N.C. Hwy. 12 to 35 mph year-round, a reduction that both the N.C. Dept. of Transportation and the Town staff have recommended.
Currently, the speed limit on N.C. 12 is 45 mph, except from May 15 through Sept. 15 when the speed limit drops to 35 mph from the Kitty Hawk town line north to Trout Run.
In May 2021 the Town asked NCDOT to conduct a traffic study of N.C. 12 in order to provide an informed evaluation of the road’s appropriate speed limit(s).
The Town has authority through the N.C. General Statutes to set the speed limits on a state road, which N.C. 12 is, provided it certifies to the NCDOT that its determination is supported by an engineering and traffic investigation, like the one NCDOT conducted.
Data from NCDOCT’s traffic report are included in the Town Council meeting agenda packet, which you may access here: https://mccmeetings.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/soshoresnc-pubu/MEET-Packet-352ae6d9f5a34fd79fa9aa7d860712c7.pdf. (The meeting agenda is on the first two pages.)
We have only skimmed through this material, but think you will find the data on accidents on N.C. 12 from 2017 to 2022 of interest. According to the NCDOT, there were 154 accidents on N.C. 12 in Southern Shores during these six years, of which 97, or 63 percent, were rear-end collisions.
The data reveal that last year was far and away the most hazardous on N.C. 12, with 45 (29 percent) of the 154 accidents.
The one traffic-related fatality on the thoroughfare occurred in 2021 when, many of you will remember, a pedestrian crossing at the Chicahauk Trail traffic light was struck and killed by a vehicle proceeding north on N.C. 12. The pedestrian dashed across the road as the light was changing.
According to NCDOT, 32 of the 154 accidents have involved injuries to people. More than 50 percent of them were in the lowest class of injury (Class C), but we could not find a description of this class or other injury classes included in the report.
This year’s data are incomplete, showing only five accidents on N.C. 12.
IN OTHER BUSINESS AT TOMORROW’S COUNCIL MEETING . . .
*Mr. Ogburn also will update the Town’s beach nourishment project—which, at last report, was expected to start in September—and give a followup on the July 21 water main break at 132 Ocean Boulevard.
*The Town Council is expected to choose a planning consultant to manage the Town’s CAMA Land-Use Plan (LUP) update between two companies that submitted proposals for the contract in response to a Town-issued Request for Proposal. The companies are N-Focus Inc., of Kannapolis and Stewart of Raleigh, which recently assisted the towns of Duck and Manteo with updating their Land-Use Plans.
Although N-Focus’s proposed fee for service is lower than Stewart’s proposed fee—$67,750 as opposed to $80,000—Deputy Town Manager/Planning Director Wes Haskett has recommended that the Council accept Stewart’s proposal because it is “the most qualified and responsible.” The companies’ proposals are included in the meeting agenda packet.
The Town budgeted $80,000 in fiscal year 2022-23 for the LUP update.
As always, we encourage you to attend tomorrow’s Town Council meeting (5:30 p.m., Pitts Center) or watch it on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/user/TownofSouthernShores. We expect to post an article on Wednesday.
Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 8/1/22