NCDOT replacing troublesome median at Lowe’s

By on January 22, 2013

A crew was tearing up the median Tuesday. (Rob Morris)

A source of complaints about safety, the median designed to prevent left-hand turns at the Lowe’s entrance on U.S. 158 is being torn up by the Department of Transportation.

A contractor will replace it with a narrower strip of concrete to restore full access to the center lane for northbound traffic waiting to turn left from U.S. 158 onto West 1st Street.

Just before Lowe’s opened in May, town officials said they heard concerns about dangerous back-ups the median could create for motorists trying to turn into First Street. Residents also complained about the lack of time the median allowed for deceleration into the turn lane.

It blocked the center lane for about 30 feet, leaving a short left-turn lane into First Street, which serves as a major access to residences on the west side of Kill Devil Hills.

The Lowe’s entrance between 1st Street and Landing Drive is only for southbound traffic on U.S. 158 turning right in and out.

Motorists heading north on U.S. 158 turn left at the Landing Drive traffic light to reach another entrance on the south end of the Lowe’s parking lot.

During heavy traffic times, the left-turn lane could back up into the through lane.

The median was just south of First Street.

District 1 Assistant Engineer Jim Hoadley said Tuesday that a contractor will install a concrete strip 1 to 2 feet wide along the western edge of the center turn lane. It will allow turning traffic to use the lane while still preventing left turns from the Lowe’s entrance.

Unpredictable weather had delayed the project, he said. Removing the concrete could make the asphalt in the center lane a little rough, but should not tear up the pavement, he said.

Reflective yellow striping will be painted on either end of the new strip. If necessary, he said, breakaway plastic poles could also be installed.

“We going to see how it goes and go from there,” Hoadley said.

Plans for the median came from a traffic impact analysis conducted by Lowe’s in conjunction with NCDOT, according to Jennings.

Lowe’s Public Relations Manager Stacey Lentz said in May that the median was part of the store’s permitting process. NCDOT, she said, requested that Lowe’s place the median in the highway.

Hoadley said that it was not known whether the cost of the project, which was not yet available, would be covered by the state or by Lowe’s.

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February 1, 2013 10:44 am

Maby if people were not texing and driveing and yacking on the phone and just kept their mind on the road there would be less problems

Frank Moore

January 28, 2013 9:32 am

@ Concerned Citizen I love the “tightest clothespins on the line” referance. Always falling off and not doing a good job !! Love it !!!!!

Concerned Citizen

January 27, 2013 7:49 pm

SUE is correct. NCDOT – pull heads out of butts and make lowe’s put in what home depot has – a one-way merging lane, it’s the only way to do it safely.

I guess the good folks at NCDOT are not the tightest clothespins on the line, huh? Must be like every other state agency ’round these parts: a good-ol boy network…



January 26, 2013 3:39 pm

It’s simple, we need another bypass to bypass the current bypass that does not bypass anything at all but the beach road which has only 2 stop lights on it.


January 25, 2013 2:44 pm

I was baffled when they intially installed the median before Lowe’s opened….I wondered how long it would last. I actually chuckled to myself when I saw them tearing it up. There are no other medians the entire length of the by-pass so why all of a sudden did they find it necessary to put one in this particular location. I wonder what the engineer was smoking when he drew up the plans.
As for Harris Teeter….that entrance next to the Bookstore is the dumbest idea EVER! Why put them so close together…obviously to cause mass confusion.
I am going to get off my soapbox now.


January 25, 2013 10:12 am

I just LOL at how they do things around here.


January 24, 2013 2:25 pm

Oh yeah, 209k


January 24, 2013 1:38 pm

Rob Hawk, you simply have got to stop being so logical!


January 24, 2013 12:44 pm

someone is going to get killed at the Little Bridge site…because while one lane stops…someone in the outside lane is going to not see a person and the person walking is going to assume that the one lane stopped so the other will too and BAM…there’s going to be a family impacted by the loss of someone they love. We try too hard to make it easy for everyone and make more policies and rules and changes to rules that it really only makes things worse in the longrun. I agree wholeheartedly with the person able who says, LEARN HOW TO DRIVE, PERIOD!


January 24, 2013 6:45 am



January 24, 2013 6:44 am

I agree with the Harris Teeter entrance comment.

You’d think the Government could use emminent domain to create a right turn service lane there… not much going on at the Used Bookstore anyway!


January 23, 2013 8:09 pm

You’re right, Robert. Sometimes the best solution is the simplest. But then, we’re talking about government here.

Robert J Hawk

January 23, 2013 4:34 pm

Why not just allow left turns into there just like all up and down the beach in a bunch of other places.


January 23, 2013 3:30 pm

It’s too bad KDH was not smart enough to require service roads with new development . . . they would be quite expensive to build now, but very necessary.


January 23, 2013 3:21 pm

…lets put up a concrete wall for southbound traffic to crash head first into should they not be paying attention.

Frankly, if they’re not paying attention, I’d rather them crash into a wall than into someone else. With all due respect, I think you just justified the existence of the median.


January 23, 2013 3:13 pm

I agree with the Harris Teeter comment.
What a clusterfrick that is.
I guess they’re waiting for some fatalities to happen there before they correct it.:/


January 23, 2013 1:18 pm

Government ignorance and waste at its finest.

Rob Morris

January 23, 2013 11:42 am

Note: Harris Teeter is in Kill Devil Hills.

Frank Moore

January 23, 2013 8:50 am

Any engineer worth his salt knew from the start that this median, at this place with the known traffic pattern was not going to work. Lowe’s should not have to pay for the cost of removal just because KDH “engineers” required them to install. And before anyone can say it was Lowe’s idea to install it so they must pay, it could only have gone in as a NCDOT requirement. Lowe’s nor anyone should have to pay for NCDOT mistake. the information was there and an illadvised decision was made by NCDOT. NCDOT must stand firm of not allowing left hand turns from this curb cut.


January 23, 2013 7:59 am

As I was passing by there yesterday my 10 year old son asked me what was going on. I explained as best I could about traffic studies and civil engineers that are paid to make good traffic flow decisions and make traffic patterns safe and that it looked like the concrete that was put there was being taken back up, some sort of mistake that was realized, I guessed. He said “well, they could of saved a lot of money and just asked the people like you who drive this road everyday”. Agreed.


January 23, 2013 7:44 am

A narrow strip of concrete will do nothing. We live across the street from Lowes and every day watch dozens and dozens of cars do a u-turn around the median or use our driveway to turn around in. (not to mention making it very difficult for us to turn into our own driveway while traveling south) A concrete strip will not prevent cars from trying to turn north out of there. They SHOULD have put in a merging southbound turn lane out of the parking lot – similar to Home Depot, so cars wouldn’t have a choice.


January 23, 2013 7:35 am

@ James c We dont need a traffic light on a highway, As for the DOT removing somthing that shouldnt be there par for the coarse, Your taxes @ work!


January 23, 2013 7:21 am

They should remove the Lowe’s building also.


January 23, 2013 6:13 am

Learn how to drive, and quit whining. Problem solved.


January 23, 2013 1:06 am

God forbid they would just tear down the median and not put up anything else. But NO, lets put up a concrete wall for southbound traffic to crash head first into should they not be paying attention. When the NCDOT tears down their first mistake they will just put up another mistake to replace it. How many people have to crash before those bureaucrats at NCDOT decide not to cater to Lowes and not put anymore unnessesary obsticals on the street?!

Barking dog

January 23, 2013 12:35 am

Now there should be some improvement made into the Harris teeter entrance in nags head when traveling south! You can’t see the entrance and there is no deceleration lane and there are no yellow markers! There have been numerous accidents here and blown tires from hitting the low median! Of course, this is another poor planning idea from the town of nags head planning board and commissioners and their overpaid lawyers! Why do they continue to prohibit entrances from one business to the one located next door, but requiring you to drive your car back out to the bypass and then into the neighbor business! Makes no sense! Kdh has similar problems! This is also a problem with bicyclist trying to go from busa to busa! This also relates to terrible parking problems for the ob seafood festival this past October! You had to jump over ditches to get to the next property! Where were the walkways and culverts?


January 22, 2013 10:57 pm

well, its about time!

James C.

January 22, 2013 10:47 pm

Now, do the same thing at the little cause way bridge on your way to manteo. I know it was placed there as a cross walk for people, but if you are traveling west and trying to turn into the parking lot, good luck! There is not enough room! You shouldn’t have a cross walk on a highway with out a traffic light.

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