City plans to fix confusing intersection

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2011

By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — The city will move forward this summer with long-awaited improvements to a confusing intersection that marks the entrance to the Jersey City neighborhood.
Using $130,000 in grant funds already allocated for the project, the city will add crosswalks, islands, curb extensions, landscaping and a “Jersey City” sign to the intersection of West Cemetery Street, North Caldwell Street and Mocksville Avenue.
“This will be a great improvement,” Salisbury City Councilman Paul Woodson said. “I pass by there once a day, and it’s pretty bland right now.”
The project will make turning at the intersection safer, City Planner Lynn Raker said. The reconfiguration will make clear where cars and trucks should curve to follow Mocksville Avenue, and where drivers should turn to enter side streets.
The city won a Community Development Block Grant several years ago to fund the work but needed further study of stormwater drainage issues, Raker said. City engineers have decided to leave the current drainage pattern and build devices to help direct stormwater along the same path it has always taken, she said.
The Jersey City neighborhood has supported and suggested many of the improvements in the area, including sidewalks and street lights. Residents want an improved entrance, or gateway, to the neighborhood, Raker said.
“The sign is very important to the neighborhood,” she said.
City Council named improvements to the Jersey City intersection as a goal several years ago.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Councilman Brian Miller said.
Miller said he supports the project, as long as the design allows tractor-trailers and other heavy trucks to turn without rolling over the improvements.
He also suggested adding a fourth crosswalk across Mocksville Avenue.
Fire trucks and standard 18-wheelers can turn without difficulty, Raker said. The city is considering stamped asphalt for the crosswalks, which has held up well in other locations, she said.
The city faces a budget crisis. But the money for the intersection project was set aside when times were good and should be used for the original purpose, Councilman William “Pete” Kennedy said.
“It wouldn’t be fair to snatch this money from that neighborhood,” Kennedy said.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.