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Johnston County's Rural Roadways Keep Up With Growing Use

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JOHNSTON COUNTY — As Johnston County grows, its system of rural roadways has become dangerous, especially at some bridges. Now, theDepartment of Transportationis tackling two trouble spots.

Traffic counts, average speed, and accidents are increasing rapidly along Johnston County's rural roadways.

There was a deadly example of that combination on Labor Day whena Johnston County man lost control of his carat the White Oak Creek Bridge on Winston Road. His car slammed into the bridge barrier and flipped into the creek, killing his wife. Another fatal accident happened at the same spot two weeks earlier.

DOT crews have since fixed the bridge barrier and widened each lane by one foot.

The DOT says the main safety improvement is in the pavement leading up to the bridge. "The new pavement has a lot of rock in it, and it is not as slick as some pavements you see, and we did that purposely," says Board of Transportation member Durwood Stephenson.

Resident Edna Garner believes the road is safer as a result of the changes, "if you drive like you're supposed to," she says.

Another Johnston County bridge will soon be safer as well. After a long battle over buying up rights of way, the DOT will start work this month on a new, safer bridge over Middle Creek.

A woman missed the bridge on Raleigh Road and crashed into Middle Creek, killing three children, on February 3, 1998.

"Johnston County was a rural county. Most of our roads are narrow widths. It was designed for a low volume of traffic. Now we know what's happened down here. We got more, higher speed traffic," says Stephenson.

The two bridge safety projects will cost taxpayers just over $1 million.