The N.C. Department of Transportation wants to redesign the intersection of U.S. 401 and Fox Road in North Raleigh to reduce the number of crashes there.
NCDOT is proposing to reconfigure the intersection to prevent left turns from Fox Road on to U.S. 401, also known as Louisburg Road. Drivers would still have designated lanes to turn left from U.S. 401 on to Fox, but drivers wishing to turn left from Fox would have to first turn right and make a U-turn at the next opening in the median.
State engineers will present their plan and get feedback at a public meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 7, from 5 to 7 p.m. at St. Matthews Baptist Church, 5410 Louisburg Road.
There were 63 crashes at the intersection in the five years ending Dec. 31, 2017, said John Grant, a traffic safety engineer for NCDOT. There is not a traffic light, and many of those crashes were associated with left turns, Grant said.
NCDOT’s solution draws on something engineers call a “superstreet,” which eliminates left turns from side streets onto busy roads by sending drivers to breaks in the median to make U-turns. The pattern means drivers no longer crisscross each other making left turns.
“When you implement this kind of movement, you clean up the intersection,” Grant said. “It kind of simplifies the intersection.”
Installing a traffic light would be another possibility, Grant said. But while that might reduce crashes associated with left turns, it would almost certainly result in more rear-end crashes, he said. U.S. 401 is six lanes wide at this point and the speed limit is 50 mph.
NCDOT doesn’t expect to reconfigure the intersection until the summer of 2020. Grant said the time is needed in part for the state to acquire some property to make more room for the U-turns. The project is expected to cost $400,000.