I want to offer further discussion on the Dept. of Highways proposed closure of the left turn lane from Cat Creek Road on to Hwy 441. The recent information meeting at Franklin City Hall was attended lightly by property owners in the Holly Springs area. Those that did attend were unanimous in their disapproval of this ridiculous proposal. Not only was it ill thought out but would result in an even more dangerous result than what the DOT's bean counters have come up with. For those who did not attend the meeting let me point out the flaws in the existing proposal.
Their plan is to provide a u-turn half way between the Cat Creek Road and the traffic lights at the access to downtown Franklin. If one looks at the distance to this proposed u-turn, a vehicle would have to do one of two maneuvers to get to the u-turn. If one complies with the law and merges into the closest lane and then left turns into the left lane when safe to do so and depending on traffic on this major highway, you may not be able to get to the u-turn in time. The other maneuver will mean breaking the law and doing what a large number of Macon County drivers already do by driving across to the outside lane, traffic allowing at the time. Does this mean that DOT encourages drivers to ignore the laws of North Carolina?
The planned u-turn is designed only for regular motor vehicles and will prohibit large trucks and RVs from access to the u-turn. Trucks and larger vehicles will be required to left turn at the lights and access another proposed u-turn lane at an intersection that is already heavily congested. Have you tried to merge from Main Street on to the south bound lane of the highway? It is usually very congested.
Let's look at the traffic that comes out of of Creek Road. Some 70-75 percent of vehicles coming out of Cat Creek Road intend to travel south, towards the many shopping complexes, Wal-mart, Ingles, Bi-Lo, Lowes or access south on Georgia Road. With the planned closing of Rabbit Creek Road this summer to replace the bridge at Ferguson and Rabbit Creek, this will further compound the traffic on Cat Creek Road. The bean counters we talked to at the city hall meeting did not even know about this planned closure. If this closure is anything like the last Rabbit Creek closure, the road was closed for almost a year.
A unanimous alternative was suggested to these so-called consultants but it fell on deaf ears. The alternative was to provide a left turn merge lane, for about three or four vehicles to allow traffic turning left to move ahead, leaving room for another left turn vehicle or for a vehicle coming from the south to turn left onto Cat Creek Road without obstruction. This not only would be a safer solution but would save the taxpayer a considerable amount. For you folks who live out in the Holly Springs area, you really need to look seriously at this proposed DOT proposal. The unfortunate fatality at this intersection was not due to the road design, it happened due to other factors. If this intersection is to be singled out for this ridiculous proposal, then what about Rabbit Creek interchange, and the hundreds of other similar road crossings throughout the county and the state.
Gary G. Puckett — Franklin, N.C.