MILLS RIVER COUNCIL APPEALS TO NC DOT FOR HELP AT DANGEROUS INTERSECTION

 THE INTERSECTION OF HIGHWAY 191 AND BUTLER BRIDGE ROAD, DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF MT. GILEAD BAPTIST CHURCH   

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Mills River Town Council and staff are appealing to NC DOT for help with the dangerous intersection of Highway 191 and Butler Bridge Road. One wreck there on the morning of the hurricane left a vehicle on its side; and yet another bad wreck occurred there this past Sunday.

Approaching Highway 191 on Butler Bridge Road, the intersection is virtually “blind” for motorists on the left, or on the Highway 280 side, at the intersection. Both a curve and an elevation issue create the hazard. NC DOT’s efforts to improve that intersection a few years ago have not helped.

That part of Butler Bridge Road is used as a frequent “connector” for parents taking kids to and from Glenn Marlow School and as a general connection to the five-lane Highway 280.

In appeals by Town Council and staff to NC DOT, we’re told that NC DOT will review the number of accident at that intersection...but “numbers” don’t tell the whole story. The danger is obvious to any motorist approaching Highway 191 on Butler Bridge Road, who tries to see back to his left around that “blind” curve and who know he has only seconds to make his turn before a vehicle, probably exceeding the 45 miles-per-hour speed limit. Comes around the curve and up the hill and is in his path at the intersection.

That intersection probably won’t qualify for a traffic signal light, although that may be the only way to slow traffic down to the speed limit along that stretch of Highway 191 or Old Heywood Road. But Mills River Town Manager Jeff wells is asking NC DOT to consider a “flashing” light that will flash and alert motorists when traffic is approaching the intersection.

Mills River Town Council discussed the issue at length at their September 14th meeting, and Mayor Larry Freeman says Town Council is committed to continuing the appeal to NC DOT and exploring every possibility to make that intersection safer.

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Some private citizens and some who attend nearby Mt. Gilead Baptist Church say they’ve taken the issue and expressed their concerns all the way to NC DOT division headquarters in Sylva.