Local News

Family Wants Guardrail Between Them and I-85 Traffic

Posted February 2, 2007

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— A family living a stone's throw from Interstate 85 in Orange County says its time for the state to help protect them, but the state Department of Transportation is making no commitments.

“It's not very far to the highway. If a tractor-trailer came down there, that'd be it,” said Stephanie Umstead. She worries about letting her daughter Kaylee, 4, play in their yard.

In the two years the family has lived off I-85 near Hillsborough, four cars have come speeding off the interstate, crashing into their yard, Umstead said. She has several trashed trees and a leaning utility pole to show for it.

The latest wreck was the day after Thanksgiving.

“It sounded like an explosion out here, and I came out and I saw smoke all over the place and I saw a someone trying to climb out of the car,” Umstead remembered Friday.

“I just want a guardrail. I don't want a brick wall. I don't need a sound barrier. I just need something at the top of that hill that I know is gonna keep me safe and stop somebody from coming down here and running into my home,” she said.

DOT District Engineer Chuck Edwards sent a survey crew to Stephanie Umstead's house, and he said the state is investigating whether a guardrail is the right move. Steel beam guardrail costs $25 a foot, and state funds are limited.

The DOT said engineers will make a decision on the guardrail request in about two weeks.

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  • Nothing New Feb 3, 2007

    Dont like the tax structure, MOVE. Thats one things wrong with all these newcomers, they want to do it the way it was done where they came from. Get over it you are in NC now or go back. The best I know, Delta and Greyhound have multiple departures everyday, some even going to Oaky.

  • kaecee Feb 3, 2007

    I don't think she's asking for too much. All she is asking for is protection between herself and they highway.

  • spent87 Feb 3, 2007

    I don't understand the problem. What she is asking is for the state to increase the value of the property by putting in a guard rail. When you rent or buy you pay based on the condition of the property and its location. If its very close to train tracks the value goes down. If its backs up to highways the value goes down. Now we are suppose to use tax dollars to increase the value of the property when the road was there before the house was either built or rolled to the location. Don't kid yourself, it is about the money. There is a value to safety and life. This guardrail would essentially increase the value of the property at our expense. I don't think so. Put up the guardrail at the expense of the property owner and everybody is happy.

  • E-Diva Feb 3, 2007

    Ummm...she did see the highway when she bought the house, didn't she?

  • St Ives Feb 3, 2007

    I live on a street where there are four way stopes for the first several intersections. Then we come to a two way stop. People think by that time the other person in the cross stree is going to stop also. No, they don't!Several wrecks over the last twenty years. Neighborhood patitions and near fatalities did no good. Now after twenty years ther is a sign that states cross street traffic dosen't stop. How easy is that ! How easy would it have been twenty years ago. Good luck lady, my advice is buy your own guard rails

  • superman Feb 3, 2007

    Quit selling alcohol, cigarettes, cell phones, and panty hose and she will be safe. Looks like the trees and pole are natural barriers. She be better off to just move- even if they approve the barrier it could take years. I live in a residential neighborhood, the road was built 35 years ago and we still waiting for it to be repaired or resurfaced. Neighborhood petitions, phone calls from all the people on our streets-- Guess we need to get on TV. Have some kids stand in the pot holes with just their heads showing on cam. Everyone wants something --guess we just need to "suck it up" and live with it.

  • YeahWhatever Feb 3, 2007

    First point: They've been there 2 years. How long has the highway been there? Oh yeah, FORTY. Right. Pick a better place to live next time. Cripes.

    Second: Get off the ignorant gas tax high horse fishin'. Yeah, we do indeed have high gas taxes. You know why? Because we DON'T pay local road assessment taxes like every other state in the country. North Carolina has a unique structure system. Counties don't maintain roads here. If it's not in the city, it's all up to the state.

    Tired of reactive ignorance. Sheez.

  • superdad412 Feb 3, 2007

    When highways like this are planned they do not take into consideration whose property they bisect. If you don't sell to the state they will condemn your property and take it. My families farm is proof of that! I am NOT for giving away freebies at the state's expense, but we as drivers benefit from this insertion through whomever's property it once belonged. The property on which this family resides may be a small parcel that was left over after the state mutilated existing property lines to benefit motorist. We don't know that they "bought the house that way". They may have placed the home there 2 years ago. Regardless of that, they can do whatever they want with their property and this is a safety issue. We should spare no expense to keep our cars onto the states right-of-way and out of their yard/home. Come on NCDOT...step-up!

  • heelzlover Feb 3, 2007

    putting up the guard rail COULD ALSO save the life of the driver as well....it NEEDS to be there...

  • gonefishin2020 Feb 3, 2007

    Are you kidding me? A whole $25 a ft.......? Dang...I'll pay for a foot of it myself....now all we need is another 200 people to chip in and it's done. OR...let's put some of the country's 3rd highest state gas tax money to good use and put up the railing. Come on guys......