Residents plead with NCDOT to improve intersection's safety

MONROE, NC (WBTV) - Residents who live near the intersection of Lawyers Road and New Salem Road in Union County say something must be done to improve the intersection's safety.

David Bruce lives at the intersection. His home surveillance cameras have caught dozens of wrecks and near-misses at the intersection over the past few years.

Typically, the videos show, the wrecks involve someone coming from the south on New Salem Rd. hitting a vehicle trying to cross on Lawyers Rd.

Bruce has posted videos of the incidents on YouTube. Spending a few minutes watching the compilations is enough to make someone cringe every time you see an ill-fated car start to cross the road.

"I literally cringe and hold my breath and just gas it as hard as I can," Amber McCraw, who lives near the intersection, explained in an interview.

McCraw and her neighbors say the intersection is dangerous. They've been asking the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to make improvements to the intersection to no avail.

"We think the intersection would be safer with rumble sticks and a four-way stop," she said.

But Jen Thompson, a spokeswoman for NCDOT, said traffic safety engineers disagree. The department is currently in the process of requesting funding to change the grade of the shoulder on New Salem Rd. in hopes of improving drivers' ability to see oncoming traffic while crossing on Lawyers Rd.

Thompson explained a four-way stop wouldn't work at the intersection.

"If a four-way stop were to be installed before volume warrants are met, motorists may not regard the stop signs and have a tendency to not stop, which could result in crashes," she said.

But McCraw and her neighbors disagree. They say they're tired of watching accidents happen because people can't see cars coming from below the hill.

"Safety is number one," McCraw said. "If it's a dangerous intersection, it's a dangerous intersection."

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