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Town Official: Outlet Center Drive Is Becoming A “Safety Hazard”

A heavily-traveled section of Outlet Center Drive near Carolina Premium Outlets lacks adequate lane markings. Feb. 9, 2024 Photo by Johnston County Report

SMITHFIELD – Thousands of drivers travel to retail stores, hotels, and restaurants along Outlet Center Drive in Smithfield each day. Complaints about the roadway have been numerous. They include concerns about the roundabout, confusing signage, poor road conditions, potholes, and now fading or non-existent pavement markings.

Imagine the difficulty for motorists who have never driven along Outlet Center Drive attempting to stay in the correct travel lane at night, or while it’s raining.

Maintenance for Outlet Center Drive is the responsibility of the Town of Smithfield. Last year, with limited funding, the Town elected not to resurface Outlet Center Drive and use Powell Bill money to repave sections of more than a dozen residential streets.

During the February 6 town council meeting, Town Manager Mike Scott updated elected officials on the deteriorating roadway and lane markings.

In his monthly Manager’s Report to the mayor and council, Mr. Scott stated, “The condition of the pavement on Outlet Center Drive continues to deteriorate. Primarily the road striping had faded to the point where some areas are difficult to see. The faded striping is becoming a safety hazard and needs to be addressed. Public Works is working to get an estimate to restripe the street. The estimate is likely in excess of $10,000. The striping will need to be redone again once the road is resurfaced.”

In an email to the Johnston County Report, Town Manager Scott said, ” The Council has been discussing how to proceed with Outlet Center Drive for some time. There appeared to be some grant funding coming available that the Council was hoping to tap into rather than repair the road using Smithfield tax dollars or State Powell Bill Funds. Staff is currently working with NCDOT to explore additional options to repave Outlet Center Drive and also to place temporary striping in the faded areas of the road. We estimated the cost at $910,000 last March. We hope to discuss this with the Council at a public meeting soon.”

A 2021 NCDOT study found that high-quality lane markings help drivers better navigate roads and curves, particularly at night or in the rain, according to RoadsBridges.com. The study found a 13 percent reduction in lane-departure crashes after long-life markings were added to the roadway, however long-life markings can cost more than traditional markings.

The report said the NCDOT has applied 6 inch wide lane markings in some cases, instead of the standard 4 inch, to improve visibility. Smithfield officials have not said what type of lane markings they plan to apply or when the work could be scheduled.

This article was originally published by a jocoreport.com . Read the Original article here. .

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