Local News

New Signs, Lights Posted at Dangerous Zebulon Corner

Posted March 8, 2007 11:10 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2007 12:57 a.m. EST

— 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.