Cary, N.C. — Hundreds of people attended a rally along Green Level to Durham Road at Cary Glen Boulevard Thursday evening to persuade the state Department of Transportation to add a stoplight to what they say is a dangerous intersection.
Melissa K. Birdsong, 28, and her 3-year-old son, Alexander Birdsong, were injured in a wreck Monday at the intersection. Melissa Birdsong’s stepdaughter, 16-year-old Kailee Nicole Birdsong, died, police said.
The teen’s father, Robbie Birdsong, said the intersection where the wreck occurred has limited sight distance making it especially dangerous.
Another wreck happened at the intersection Tuesday afternoon as a WRAL photographer was filming there.
"Now that's what I am talking about,” driver Andre Sanders said after watching the collision. “Now they need to do something about this intersection. Somebody is going to die out here again.”
On Thursday, neighbors signed a petition to place a traffic light at the intersection. “There are times as a citizen you have to say, ‘this is ridiculous,’” said Maureen LeBoeuf, who attended the rally.
Tim Bailey, Cary's engineering director, said the intersection does not qualify for a light.
"We've done studies at locations like this in the past and to date, it has never met criteria for installing a traffic signal at this location,” Bailey said.
Bailey said Thursday that he has not ruled out adding a stoplight at the intersection.
"It is still on the table and event if DOT says it is still on the table," Bailey said.
A location must have a high traffic volume or at least five wrecks in a 12-month period to warrant a light, Bailey said. The wreck that claimed Kailee Birdsong’s life was the second at Green Level to Durham Road and Cary Glen Boulevard in a year. The wreck between a Mustang and SUV on Tuesday was the third.
The town of Cary is paying for a two-week traffic study to see if the crossroads meets standards requiring a light. If it doesn’t, the town could put one up anyway, but would have to get approval from the state to make any changes to Green Level to Durham Road, which is a state road.
“We do not have authorization to make changes there unless DOT tells us we can,” Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said.
“I hold my breath and hope I get through it everyday,” driver Anne Soeder said. “This intersection is going to get worse before it gets better.”
Ashley Payne was injured in an accident at the intersection. At a town council meeting Thursday night, Payne told officials a blind-spot caused her crash.
"It is so much harder to see the cars coming. You don't have enough time to take your time," Payne said.
Officials also discussed blocking the intersection with a median that would force only right turns and U-turns.
Other ideas are to widen the center area of the road so cars can pause after making it passed the first few lanes of traffic, but before taking a left or crossing the rest of the way to the other side.
Officials said to get a stoplight in place quicker, a wooden pole could be used instead of the traditional metal pole. The wooden pole would cost about $60,000 and could be installed in 60 days.