Public hearing for new development spotlights Webb Road traffic dangers

Published 12:02 am Friday, December 9, 2022

SALISBURY — During Monday’s Board of Commissioners meeting, several local residents spoke in a public hearing about a new commercial development at the 1200 block of Webb Road, sharing concerns about potential traffic hazards, particularly during construction.

The development, which commissioners unanimously approved, is being built by RP Salisbury Partners LLC, which sought to rezone a lot to build two commercial buildings that could be used for major retailers, warehouses, industrial product companies, distribution companies or automotive businesses.

The residents, whose houses and farms neighbor the lot, said they weren’t opposed to having the two commercial buildings, but they worried about the proposed half-mile extension of Lane Parkway that the developers want to connect to Webb Road.

Marnita Parks lives on Webb Road and her son, Jake, has a farm just down the road. Both said they worry about the dangers of limited visibility on Webb Road, which often has speeding drivers. Jake said he was especially worried about the potential for drivers to run into semi-trucks pulling out of the Lane Parkway extension onto Webb Road.

“The location of the proposed extension is a location, if anybody has driven down Webb Road, that has very poor visibility,” he said. “You could have somebody driving down the road 70, 80 miles an hour because there’s no speed limit signs and if you have a truck stop, then this person is going to come down and slam right into him.”

Marnita and Jake Parks told commissioners about the lack of a speed limit sign on Webb Road.

“At the present time, we have no speed limit sign. So at any given time we could have somebody running up the road 30 miles per hour or you could have someone going over 100. And we have no farm machinery signs, no way that lets people know that there are farms on that road, if they even care,” Marnita said.

Carl Haynes, who also lives on Webb Road, said he worries about the proposed entrance to the construction site. Three homes with children and grandchildren would be at the entrance to the site. The development is expected to bring jobs to 300 to 600 workers, which means more traffic for the residents who live nearby.

Haynes also asked to lower the speed limit of Webb Road from 55 to 45 mph.

After closing the public hearing, Commissioner Greg Edds said they have to rely on the traffic engineers at the North Carolina Department of Transportation for traffic studies and to create plans for roads.

“While ultimately we are the commissioners who decide, we have to rely on our planning department. We rely on the professional engineers at the Department of Transportation who determine for us whether the road itself and the topography is safe,” Edds said. “From my position, my one seat will rely on the licensed, educated engineers who tell us if it qualifies or not and in this case they don’t seem to have any concerns.”

The other commissioners agreed. Commissioner Craig Pierce urged the concerned residents to talk with the North Carolina Department of Transportation because the commissioners have no power to change state roads and highways, or change the speed limits to streets.

Kelly Seitz, the
NCDOT district engineer for Rowan and Davidson counties, said the extension of Lane Parkway is being privately developed, so the agency wouldn’t hold a public hearing for that.

Seitz said if there are concerns about Webb Road, then the best way to get someone to look at it is to contact his office.

“If they feel that there needs to be a speed limit sign and it might be ordinanced for 45 miles per hour, they can send that complaint to us and we can send it up the ladder to possibly get that sign installed,” Seitz said. “If they have concerns about people speeding and not obeying the speed limit, we could look at that.”

Seitz said his office depends on the public to notify him and his team about speeding and traffic concerns. Residents can call District 1 at 704-630-3200 or visit the office at 4770 South Main St. in  Salisbury. Residents can also call the North Carolina Department of Transportation Traffic Services Division at 336-896-2400 to request putting up a speed limit sign.