Residents near Lake Wheeler still waiting for new traffic light at busy intersection

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Several people who live near Lake Wheeler believe promised traffics light will solve the problems at a busy intersection, but no one knows when they will be installed.

Those who live near the intersection of Penny Road and Old South Road say their morning commute is a nightmare.

“Getting out of here going to work in the morning and trying to turn right, it’s just impossible,” said resident Phil Lamb.

The intersection has also seen its share of fatal accidents and bad wrecks.

“I’ve lived here 20 years and seen accident after accident after accident,’’ said Glen Guenther.

Several months ago, the North Carolina Department of Transportation made the intersection a four-way stop. Area residents said that has improved the situation somewhat.

But, a CBS 17 a viewer said the NCDOT promised a traffic light there. He wants to know what’s taking so long to get it installed.

Steve Abbott with the NCDOT said adding a red light is a complicated process involving many steps.

“We will do research looking at crash history, traffic patterns — anything you can imagine,” he said.

Once all that is completed, the process is far from over. NCDOT said it needs to find funding and must do design work.

“We may have to put up poles or buy right-of-way,” Abbott said. “There’s a lot of design work in there.”

Once design work is completed, the job must be put out to bid, a contractor has to be hired to install the lights, and the work must be scheduled.

“I’ve heard about putting in a stop light for a long time,” Lamb said. “I don’t know when they are actually going to do it.”

“Every location is different,” Abbott said. “Some places we can do it quickly. Other places we can’t. It’s a case-by-case basis.”

In all cases, Abbott said the NCDOT follows federal guidelines for the installation of traffic lights so that lights in North Carolina are set to uniform standards.

“I’ve heard about putting in a stop light for a long time,” Lamb said. “I don’t know when they are actually going to do it.”

For some who use this intersection, improvements with a traffic light can’t come soon enough.

“I think it’s absolutely needed,” Guenther said.

NCDOT said it’s now completed plans for a traffic light at the intersection.

All that remains is to finalize the contract, put it out to bid and hire a contractor to do the installation.

NCDOT’s Abbott says all that should be completed in the next few months.

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