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Palm Coast Friday, Nov. 24, 2017 11 months ago

Residents, sheriff urge improvements at intersection of Old Dixie Highway and U.S. 1

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Six people have died at the intersection this year.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Local residents have created a petition asking the Florida Department of Transportation to improve the intersection at U.S. 1 and Old Dixie Highway by adding a stoplight.

"Far too many people have fallen victim because of accidents at this intersection," the petition text states. "It is documented in an article on Flagler Live with the numbers and it is startling at best. Something needs to be done NOW. A stoplight is very necessary and will save many lives. It's taken too many here."

As of Nov. 27, the petition on change.org had 1,500 signatures. The push for a light at the intersection has a prominent supporter: Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly, who has pressed FDOT to add a light there before.

The intersection location, just south of the White Eagle Lounge, has been the site of six traffic fatalities this year. It currently has flashing signals, not a regular stoplight. 

The most recent fatal crash killed 60-year-old New Hampshire motorcyclist Gordon Therrien on Nov. 20, and a crash in February killed five people who were riding in the same car. Staly also wrote to the then-interim FDOT secretary and requested a traffic light for the location after the February crash. (View Staly's letters here.)

Although the FDOT has added some pavement striping, that's not enough, Staly wrote in a Nov. 21 letter to FDOT Secretary Mike Dew. The Sheriff's Office handled 207 crashes at that location between January 2014 and January 2017, of which 147 caused injury, Staly wrote.

"While I acknowledge that these deaths and traffic crashes have been caused by driver error, the current design and driver speed contributes to the dangers of this intersection," he wrote. 

The intersection is complicated by the fact that County Road 305 also terminates there. FDOT has been considering a roundabout, but that could be more than a year away. 

Staly wrote that the intersection needs changes now. He suggested adding a fully functioning stop light, dropping the speed limit on U.S. 1 in that section down to 45 mph from the current 65 mph; adding a "dangerous intersection ahead" sign on U.S. 1 in both directions near the intersection; removing a stop sign on C.R. 325 that appeared to be confusing drivers; and, if a stop light is not installed, adding a sign on westbound Old Dixie Highway at U.S. 1 and also on southbound U.S. 1 turning onto westbound Old Dixie Highway indicating that cross traffic does not stop. 

FDOT had not responded to Staly's letter as of Nov. 27, a Flagler County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said.

 

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