I really hope that the candidates running for Franklin City Council will consider the pending unpopular efforts by the NCDOT to prohibit a left turn at Hwy 441 and Cat Creek Road. In two public meetings on the subject, the audiences were unanimous in their opposition to this ridiculous effort. This area is in the city limits and is policed by the Franklin PD.
The DOT representatives laid out a bunch of statistics that they say will prevent further accidents by disallowing the left turn and running the traffic 600 yards west to a special left turn. How utterly ridiculous to think that they intend to take this large volume of traffic off Cat Creek Road and have them turn right then dive across the fast double lane of traffic barreling down the hill at 55 mph plus and have these vehicles go from a standing start and maneuver across the two lanes to get into the left turn lane, accomplishing this in under 600 yards. I can just imagine the outcome. People desperately looking over their shoulders, slowly trying to change lanes with fast moving traffic barreling down their back side. Wow. The few accidents they logged over the past five years will be nothing compared to what will happen now. What they are further encouraging is the continual breaking of the law by drivers diving across two lanes of traffic and not following the law which requires a driver to turn into the closest lane and then after signaling the turn, change lanes when traffic allow you to change lanes.
Really DOT Engineers, your rationale addresses the past problems, one not caused by a bad design but one caused by stupid drivers. Now you want to encourage breaking the law and continued carelessness and bad driving with numerous rear enders happening even more frequently than before.
Participants in the two meetings offered excellent alternatives to this unpopular effort, ones that would definitely cause less problems and would probably cost much less that all the planned road work required under their proposal. Partial Signalization was the best one offered. Another proposal the elimination of the north bound u-turn lane and the placing of a left turn merge lane allowing left turn vehicles to clear the intersection for south bound left turns and additional left turns off Cat Creek. This could be done without the need to signalize the intersection. Another suggestion was the installation of a $40 traffic sign as you approach Cat Creek from the south, warning that an uncontrolled intersection lies ahead. PROCEED WITH CAUTION. Another suggestion was to lower the posted speed limit from 55 to 45. This would mean that the 60 mph plus traffic might slow to at least 55.
The people of Holly Springs and the numerous businesses off Cat Creek Road have opposed the DOT and their effort to close this left turn. Unfortunately as was expressed by numerous persons at the meeting, their decision has been made, the meeting was just a formality, a mean nothing effort to appease the residence. This is a bad decision, one that will affect the safety of the drivers but will inconvenience and affect the businesses that are benefited by the numerous traffic that turns left to frequent the majority of businesses that lie to the south of this intersection. Pay attention candidates, it does have an effect on the city.
Gary Puckett — Franklin, N.C.