Police, DOT study Smithfield intersection to improve safety

Posted January 20, 2012
Updated January 21, 2012

— Police in Smithfield have asked the state to study the intersection of U.S. Highway 70 and Front Street. The crossroads, near downtown Smithfield, has been the site of 17 wrecks over the last year. Eight of them saw someone get hurt.

Police Chief Michael Scott said, "You have a lot of traffic coming in to Smithfield and while they come in to Smithfield they are all jockeying for positions on where to turn at that intersection."

Dennis Upton said he tries to avoid the area. "It's just dangerous out there. You get people walking at times, so there's foot traffic," he said.

Upton said he has seen back ups, accidents and close calls at the edge of downtown Smithfield where Highway 70 crosses with Front Street.

Police look for answers at dangerous intersection Police look for answers at dangerous intersection

Scott said the state Department of Transportation is considering a change in speed limit to see if that makes a difference. As you cross the bridge over the Neuse River at the edge of town, the limit drops from 45 to 25 mph, and four lanes narrow to two.

Scott said the DOT could opt for a more gradual speed change. "Or it may be a change in the light cycles, or even a road problem as far as maybe we need to widen the road," he said.

Police hope finding a solution will make this entrance to and through the town of Smithfield safer.

Scott knows traffic over the bridge will be reduced temporarily. A construction project valued at about $6 million is about to begin.


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  • abylelab -BT- Jan 23, 2012

    i think they might wait for the person to get out of the congestion before they pull them over. i've also seen people pull into the gas stations down a little ways when pulled over.

  • seven74215 Jan 23, 2012

    I've seen the cops going back and forth through there also. However (I'm not dissing on the cops because they do a good job in Smithfield) in all my years traveling through that area I've never seen a car anywhere pulled over by a cop along that stretch. Then again I'm not in that area 24/7 so I can only attest to the times I go through there.

  • abylelab -BT- Jan 23, 2012

    yeah, it's tight through smithfield, there. and, a little weird how people will drive crazy considering that police are always coming and going from that area.

  • seven74215 Jan 23, 2012

    As abylelab -BT- stated, it doesn't narrow to two lanes where it's mention in this article. Plus there are buildings right up to the streets on both sides with just enough space for walkways. That occurs just after you cross the bridge. From that there's no room to widen the road. The only thing that can be done is to reduce the speed from 45 to 25 back up where 210 comes into 70. That way when they get to the bridge it's not a sudden drop and drivers will already have slowed down. Currently when drivers come accross the bridge they aren't going to slam on brakes to automatically get down to 25. They coast down. Having them already at 25 when they get to the bridge would reduce a lot of the problem. However, forcing drivers to reduce down to this speed before they get to the bridge would be the tricky part.

  • abylelab -BT- Jan 23, 2012

    it doesn't narrow to two lanes there.