October 22, 2020
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The North Carolina Department of Transportation recently kicked off two safety initiatives: one to install new directional signage to guide motorists around major incidents on Interstate 26 and the other a campaign aimed at improving the safety of motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists when they interact on state roads.

[Above photo by the North Carolina DOT.]

The agency said in a statement that the new directional signs and upgraded signal systems are part of a new Incident Corridor Management System designed to direct local, commercial, and emergency traffic to alternate routes between Hendersonville and Asheville in case of emergencies or construction needs that call for extended closures of I-26 between I-40 and U.S. 64.

Transportation officials in Raleigh or at the Mountain Regional Traffic Management Center can remotely initiate the system in a matter of minutes, activate the digital signs and change signal timing to allow more vehicles through signals along the detour routes to improve travel times, the North Carolina DOT said.

The agency also recently kicked off its 2020 Watch for Me NC awareness campaign that will distribute safety tips in English and Spanish for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians in a variety of ways – including in food delivery orders.

At the same time, law enforcement officers will receive special training for enforcing bicycle and pedestrian safety laws as part of the program, which officially launched in 2012 to promote pedestrian safety. There are now 30 participating partner communities across the state, the North Carolina DOT said.

“It’s great to be partnering with so many communities to proactively deliver safety messages to help raise awareness and reduce fatalities among pedestrians and bicyclists in our state,” explained Heather Hildebrandt, interim director of the department’s Integrated Mobility Division, in a statement.

“This media effort is another tool to help educate pedestrians, drivers and bicyclists about how to keep themselves and others safe while on the road,” she said. The agency added that 241 pedestrians and 19 bicyclists died on North Carolina roadways in 2019.

editor@aashto.org

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