By Erin Smith
The intersection of NC 87 and NC 11 at the Columbus-Bladen County line will be getting an extreme makeover in 2019. The North Carolina Department of Transportation will be conducting an open house on Wednesday, November 28, at the Sandyfield town hall from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.
The intersection has been the scene of several deadly crashes over the years. The intersection was converted to a four-way stop following a deadly crash in September 2017 involving a transfer truck and car. The crash claimed the life of a mother and her daughter. Another child in the vehicle was seriously injured. The driver of the truck was also transported to the hospital.
Andrew Barksdale, the Public Information Officer for the NC DOT, said improving the safety of the intersection is the reason for the proposed change.
Barksdale said, “All interchanges are safer than what we have now – a four-way stop. People can run a four-way stop. They can’t do that for an interchange, which will put NC 11 over NC 87, or vice versa. People will be able to merge onto 87 more safely.”
He explained that due to a future proposal to make NC 87 a four-lane highway, NC DOT did not want to construct a roundabout on NC 87.
“We want to make it an interchange, which would allow traffic on 87 to just keep going through the interchange without stopping,” said Barksdale.
According to Barksdale, the areas to the north and the south of the interchange are not yet funded for a widening project. The only funding available is for the interchange. The only area that will be four-laned is in the vicinity of the intersection due to the exit ramps, according to Barksdale.
The Sandyfield town hall is located at 1795 Woodyard Road in Riegelwood. The public may attend at any time during the meeting hours. NC DOT says there will be no formal presentation but individuals are encouraged to ask questions and leave comments.
NC DOT will receive written comments from the public through December 31, 2018. Comments can be submitted to John Gauthier, Division Design Engineer, P.O. Box 1150, Fayetteville, N.C. 28302. He can also be reached by telephone at (910)364-0603 or by email at email@example.com.