LUMBERTON — Motorists have less than a month to wait before newly installed traffic lights at the wrecked-plagued intersection of Seventh Street and Linwood Avenue will be fully operational.
The lights were installed two weeks ago and are currently flashing to acclimate motorists to the new traffic controls, said Robert Ivey, commander of Lumberton Rescue and EMS.
“At the end of the month it should be fully functional,” Ivey said. “I think it will be a plus for that intersection. We are hopeful the lights will reduce collisions.”
There have been 64 vehicle accidents at the intersection from 2004 to 2018, he said. Thirty-eight of them happened within the past six years and resulted in 13 reported injuries.
Regardless, not everyone is happy.
Some nearby residents have said the traffic lights are “overkill,” City Councilman Burnis Wilkins said Monday.
“If they were the ones living at that intersection, they wouldn’t say that. There have been serious wrecks and properties destroyed. If I lived at that intersection, I would wear a safety vest when doing yard work. It’s been that dangerous,” Wilkins said before resigning from the council to prepare for his new role as county sheriff.
Wilkins originally suggested flashing stop signs, which were installed about three years ago. Flashing signal lights were installed about seven months later when it was determined the flashing stop signs weren’t correcting the problem. The lights proved helpful but were not a permanent solution.
Traffic lights were deemed the best solution for the wreck-plagued intersection, Wilkins said.
Dana Mack left Mississippi about one year ago to move in with her older sister, who lives in one of the homes at intersection. Mack calls the traffic lights a godsend.
“Praise the Lord. I’ve lived here for only a year. I’ve seen accidents that should have been fatals,” Mack said. “I am so happy for all of us. Hopefully, no more accidents.”
Residents who live on and near the intersection are all too familiar with the dangers and pushed for getting a traffic light, she said.
“That neighbor right there, he’s had cars in his yard. His home is usually the target,” Mack said. “He cussed, fussed and raised holy hell to get that light.”
Reach Annick Joseph by calling 910-416-5165 or via email at [email protected]