Change Traffic Patterns, Traffic Flow, and Speed Limit on Highway 218
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Highway 218 is an approximately 31.6 mile stretch of road going through Mecklenburg, Union and Anson counties. The west end of this road begins at Highway 51 in Mint Hill North Carolina, intersecting many side roads, but also Interstate 485 and Highway 601. The east end of the road lies in Polkton running into highway 74. The route was established in 1935 as a two lane highway for local traffic only. Eighty-three years later the highway remains a two lane highway. It is not a heavily popular residential area. Many farms reside along this frequented road. It is most commonly known for its summer beach traffic, but also serves as a road heavily used for truckers carrying large loads. Many feel that this road has become increasingly popular due to the heavy start and stop traffic on highway 74, which has experienced exponential growth which many travellers seek to avoid.
Highway 218 is winding and full of ups and downs. The average speed limit down this road is 55 miles per hour except for at its originating points in Mint Hill and Polkton, where the speed limit is 35 and 45 before becoming 55. There are very few speed limit changes, four way stops, and caution signs on this road marking dangerous curbs making it alarmingly easy for the driver to zone out or get easily distracted. There are accidents almost daily and fatalities now as often as two or more times a week. A google search brings up page after page of fatalities on the state road seeming to begin to increase astronomically since 2009.
Recently the DOT rejected proposals to change the speed limit to 45 miles per hour due to the time it would take an individual to travel the duration of the road, however no other proposals were made public. The citizens of North Carolina frequenting this road would like to request the NC DOT re-examine the common accident prone areas of this highway and evaluate life-saving measures to prevent future accidents and loss of lives. For many local residents, this is their only way to work, school, etc. and the frequent highway closings are not only inconvenient, but affect their ability to provide for their families, succeed in school, spend more times their families, etc..
More caution signs and caution lights warning of dangerous curves and asking for a reduction of speed in areas of frequent accidents could not only reduce accidents, but save lives. Also, more state troopers would be inclined to frequent the road to discourage speeding in the event that there were more turn-arounds provided along the road. Currently there are none, unless highway patrol and law enforcement turn onto side roads or personal property. Passing lanes would be beneficial along the road to prevent head on collisions. There are also a few dotted lines in curves, that should potentially be solid to prevent passing accidents in turns. Four-ways stops marked with caution lights or rumble strip and round abouts could slow people down and get their attention in high risk intersections. While ultimately, a four lane highway with medians or a barrier is ideal, we understand the state has not the time, money or interest in turning 218 into a four lane highway. In an effort to save lives, prevent accidents, and protect the local economy of those living in this surrounding area, we would like to ask for modifications to the existing highway 218.
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