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Neighbors Say Site of Fatal Accident Needs Signal

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Area residents say this intersection on Highway 55 needs a traffic light.
CARY — As rural areas become booming bedroomcommunities, quiet country roads become busy commuter routes overrun withcars.

Highway 55 is a major thoroughfare for people traveling to work in RTP.During rush hour it's clogged with traffic, and anyone who tries to cross through the rush is risking his life. Neighbors of the intersection,where a woman was killed Monday morning, say the accident was a tragedywaiting to happen.

Monday morning, a car tried to cross Highway 55 and was struck by apickup truck. One woman died, and two other people were injured. People inthe community say the site of the wreck is a treacherous intersection.

Despite several pleas from the community, the North Carolina Departmentof Transportation had refused to install a traffic light, butMonday afternoon DOT officials said they have agreed to take a second lookat the problem.

Farmer Lee Phillips wouldn't ride a bike on Highway 55 today, the oncerural route is now a major thoroufare...On this morning three of Phillips employees were involved in a car accidentat 55 and Carpenter Fire Station Road, one woman died.

For years people in the Carpenter Community have lobbied the state to puta light here. Brian Edwards runs a corner store there. He recallsseveral occasions when he assisted in the rescues of people fromtheir wrecked cars.

News of the recent accident spread quickly among locals. Resident SuePhillips says it appears officials were waiting or a tragedy before actingon the problem.

Traffic officials studied the intersection last year and came to theconclusion that it did not fit the criteria for needing a traffic light.Now, they are rethinking that position.

Monday morning, DOT officials said the intersection did not meetthe guidelines for a traffic light, and that they couldn't justifystopping traffic on a busy commuter highway.

The change in attitude at DOT came about during the day, after thedeadly crash. In light of that accident, they say, they will take anotherlook at easing the traffic problems here.

Photographer:Rick Armstrong

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