DOT Changes Speed Limit Near Site Of Fatal Accident
Posted March 13, 2006 6:23 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — The state Department of Transportation has changed the speed limit on a stretch of the N.C. Highway 64 Bypass -- the same stretch that claimed the lives of four Wakefield High School students less than two weeks ago.
For slightly less than a mile, between New Hope Road and the Interstate 440 Inner Beltline ramp, the speed limit has been reduced from 65 mph to 55 mph. Signs are now posted in the area, alerting drivers to the change.
An advisory speed limit of 50 mph was also posted on the ramp where, authorities said, the four teenagers -- Baker Wood, 18; Anthony Bostic, 17; Steven George, 18; and Timothy Steinberg, 18 -- died when the vehicle they were traveling in flew over the side of an exit ramp on the bypass, crashing into a wooded area below. Authorities said the vehicle was traveling more than 100 mph.
DOT engineers said the changes had been planned since the bypass opened in July and were not a result of the recent accident.
"Actually, we started looking at the signing and the things that we just changed Friday two or three months after we opened that project," said DOT Division Engineer Jon Nance.
More changes on the Highway 64 Bypass are coming, DOT engineers said, because drivers get confused when they see the sign that says "Wake Forest" leading to the Beltline. The DOT will soon change that sign to read "West to Downtown Raleigh."
Engineers hope the signs will make the road safer in the future, but aren't sure the signs would have changed the past.
"Changes in the signs that we've made this past weekend, Friday -- would that have changed the reaction for the unfortunate accident?" Nance said. "You know, I don't know that anyone could say."