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Intersection to undergo safety changes on March 20

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SELMA — To improve safety, the N.C. Department of Transportation plans to convert the junction of N.C. 42 and N.C. 96 near Selma into an all-way stop on March 20, then construct a roundabout at that location in about two years.

The roundabout is a federally funded Highway Safety Improvement Program project with an estimated overall cost of $2 million.

The NCDOT will make the intersection an all-way stop until it can complete the design, buy additional right of way and construct the roundabout.

“Transportation safety remains a top priority,” said Addison Gainey, a project development manager for the department’s Division 4 office based in Wilson. “There have been 37 crashes at the intersection over the last five years, so we want to take these interim steps until the roundabout can be constructed.”

Now, drivers on N.C. 96 must stop and see a flashing red light, while N.C. 42 has “Vehicles Entering When Flashing” signs to warn of approaching traffic from the side road.

About 75 percent of the collisions in the five-year analysis involved the more serious angled crashes from drivers on N.C. 96 failing to yield to oncoming traffic.

Construction on the roundabout is scheduled to start in the summer of 2021. When completed, the design will improve safety and traffic flow by requiring all drivers to slow down going through it and by eliminating the stop-and-go nature of a traditional intersection. The project also will include street lighting at the roundabout to increase visibility and safety at night.