Local News

New Signs, Lights Posted at Dangerous Zebulon Corner

Posted March 8, 2007
Updated March 9, 2007

— As one local driver said Thursday, everyone around Zebulon thinks of N.C. 97 as the straight-shot, non-stop route from Zebulon to Rocky Mount. No more.

For years, the intersection of N.C. 39 and N.C. 97 was treacherous. In the past five years, there have been more than two dozen accidents there.

After he had respond to several wrecks, it became a concern for state Trooper Patrick Holmes.

"You can hear the speed coming…. You can hear the person coming at 55 mph. And you just hope he stops,” Holmes said as he stood near the intersection to monitor how the new pattern is working and to speak with some drivers.

For years, lights and signs directed drivers to stop on N.C. 39. A blinking yellow light warned drivers to slow down on N.C. 97.

Beginning this week, however, drivers are finding stop signs and blinking red lights in all directions.

One driver to whom Holmes spoke was not happy.

“That's the most dangerous thing North Carolina has ever done,” the man grumbled.

Another who got out of her car and came up to him felt the other way.

"They made it a four-way stop? Thank you, Jesus!" she said.

There’s plenty of warning about the change—signs and flags—but the change is taking a bit of an adjustment. Some people seem extra cautious.

That’s just fine with Holmes.

Troopers say it should take a few days for drivers to adjust to the change. Then, when the Carolina Mudcats begin the baseball season, troopers will be back to raise awareness among fans who will be encountering the new pattern for the first time.

Next up are some other changes.

Travelers can look for a new light off of Smithfield Road. The DOT plans on adding a stop light at the Major Slave Road and Turnip Seed Road intersection.


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  • Nobody but Carolina Mar 12, 2007

    Personally, I think a four way stop at this intersection is a great idea. It'll force people to slow down on 97 coming over those hills.

  • Trooper Mar 9, 2007

    what has changed on NC39, that was the problem of people not stopping for the stop sign. This Trooper Holmes who put in for a change is an Idiot, now he has a stop sign at the bottom of a hill where its probably going to get someone killed. Trooper Holmes, I hope you freeze your butt off when the cold rain or snow and ice causes the wrecks when vehicles try to stop and start at the bottom. I'm a former State Trooper and I think you should stick to enforcing the traffic laws rather than trying to get into traffic engineering. This is going to get someone killed!!!

  • CountryGal Mar 9, 2007

    I agree... Or better yet; put up a stop light & Reduce the speed limit to 35 in that area.

  • hralex Mar 9, 2007

    Did the engineers that came up with the stop signs really think this through? Just like tperry007 said, when you crest the hill from 97 (lets not forget about the sun in our eyes at certain times of day) you're going to slam in to a stopped surprise. If they are going to do this, there has to rumble strips before you get to the hills on Hwy. 97, really both sides, hwy. 97 and hwy. 39. I've lived in Zebulon my whole life and have driven through that intersection thousands of times, and I've never seen a problem at all. Actually, just the opposite, the traffic from 97 on both sides is on a hill so it's really easy to see what's coming. IF PEOPLE WOULD PAY ATTENTION!!!

  • Here kitty kitty Mar 9, 2007

    Can we put Trooper Holmes out on the 64 bypass? He did such a good job here maybe he can get those fools to slow down and get off my bumper!

  • Topsail Girl Mar 9, 2007

    Re: Major Slade Rd - you'd think the writers or editors would double check stuff like that LOL

  • alwayslovingu30 Mar 9, 2007

    Major slave thats A good one.great job use spelling check pal

  • My Screen name Mar 9, 2007

    The accidents there are mostly rear end collisions from people slaming on brakes and turning off 97 into 39 at the last moment with traffic behind them and people just pulling out in front of straight through traffic like fools. Now you can bet there will be more accidents than before. Pop that hill from either way on 97 and you're in for a sudden suprise. You can't train someone that don't know the area at the bottom of that hill with blinky lights and signs that's always been there before and who is stupid enough to stop with a 18 wheeler on your rear end on that kind of incline. The best thing locals can do is just avoid that intersection altogether and let the non locals take the new risk. Besides. you need rumble strips on 97 to draw attention to stop long before you pop that hill and it's too late. Get your calculators out folks, this is going to be interesting.