LUMBERTON — A pedestrian crosswalk is expected to be in place by the beginning of the next school year to help Lumberton Senior High School students and others safely cross busy Fayetteville Road.
Although they say there have been no reports of traffic-related injuries to students crossing heavily traveled Fayetteville Road, state and local officials said Tuesday they have been working for the past year to find the money to pay for a Walk/Don’t Walk sign that would work off the existing traffic signal at Fayetteville and Linkhaw roads, and pay for the installation of sidewalks and fencing that would make it safer for students walking to and from school.
“It has been my observation over the years that students walk into the street between cars during the morning and afternoon without any safety measures in place,” state Rep. Charles Graham said. “My big concern is safety. We had to put a plan together to address safety issues.”
Graham said he approached Chuck Miller, district engineer with the state Department of Transportation, several months ago to see what could be put in place to enhance safety. After much discussion between transportation officials and the city of Lumberton, a plan and funding for a crosswalk were reached.
The plan calls for DOT to provide $260,000 to install the pedestrian crossing sign. The city of Lumberton will pay a yet undetermined amount for sidewalks and fencing.
Miller said DOT’s decision to approve the project was based on the large number of vehicles and pedestrians that use Fayetteville Road. Another crosswalk project most likely will be undertaken in the future along Linkhaw Road as it nears Fayetteville Road, near a convenience store that students visit frequently.
Lumberton Councilman Leroy Rising, a former DOT employee, is credited with being the driving force behind the city’s support of the project. He said that he has been approached by both parents and students about the need to do something to make it safe for students to cross Fayetteville Road to the high school.
“I have observed the apprehension of students trying to get across the road,” he said. “Also parents have approached me with their safety concerns.”
Rising said the fencing will “direct” students to the crosswalk.
“The fence and sidewalks will also make the property look nice,” Rising said.
Lumberton Mayor Bruce Davis praised Miller and the DOT for taking the lead in providing the crosswalk.
“This is a great project,” he said. “The city is committed to supporting it in any way we can.”
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.