Changes coming to deadly Cabarrus County intersection

Changes coming to deadly Cabarrus County intersection
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MIDLAND, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — There are changes coming to a Cabarrus County intersection that’s been home to more than a dozen crashes in the last four years.

Crews are working on improvements that officials say will make N.C. 24/27 near Bethel School Road in Midland safer. Crews have started the process of making a reduced conflict intersection that will change the traffic pattern in the area.

Elizabeth Nervegna has been living in the area for four years. She has noticed the dangers of the highway and has been in contact with local and state representatives.

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“Speed is definitely a big factor in all these accidents out there,” Nervegna said.

The most memorable incident came in September 2023, when three people including a child were killed in a multi-car crash on N.C. 24/27 near Bethel School Road. The driver was seriously injured and airlifted to a local hospital. He was later charged for driving under the influence.

“There was a whole family on board as well,” Nervegna said. “That was on the main highway.”

Crews for the N.C. Department of Transportation are now making changes to the road. They’re creating what is called a reduced-conflict intersection.

The traffic pattern changes will prevent drivers from turning left and crossing over into traffic on N.C. 24/27. Instead, drivers will be directed to turn right off Bethel School Road and use a turn-around point.

Construction is underway for a reduced-conflict intersection on N.C. 24/27 in Cabarrus County.
Construction is underway for a reduced-conflict intersection on N.C. 24/27 in Cabarrus County.

A NCDOT spokesman says the department conducted a study that showed the RCI’s effects.

“RCIs reduce the number of potential locations, or conflict points, where drivers and pedestrians can collide by almost 50%, and reduce frontal impact crashes by 80%,” the study says.

“I’m sad that it didn’t happen sooner because it could have really spared the lives and injuries of so many people in accidents through the years,” Nervegna said. “But we’re glad that it’s happening now and it was worth the effort.”

NCDOT also reduced the speed limit to 45 mph on N.C. 24/27, which Nervegna says is a step in the right direction that she hopes officials continue to support.

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“They actually created a task force with our town,” Nervegna said. “So now town leaders, the sheriff’s department and the DOT are meeting somewhat regularly to discuss issues in this area and kind of relook at what needs to be changed there.”

The crew from Dominion Energy says the stoplight will be added before the end of the month, but it will take longer for it to fully function. NCDOT officials say the roadway portion of the project should be complete this summer, vegetation will continue through the end of the year. Officials also say any road closures will be reserved for off-peak hours.

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