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Parents, principal ask for stoplight in front of traffic-jammed school entrance

By Alison Parker
Published On: Sep 13 2013 05:06:43 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 13 2013 05:15:26 PM CDT
HOLLY RIDGE, ONSLOW COUNTY -

Parents, teachers and Onslow County residents have been caught in a traffic mess in front of the Dixon Elementary School entrance.

"It's madness," one parent said. "We were at a complete standstill. None of the lines were moving."

PTO President Linda Martin says traffic congestion is typical this year outside the school.

"It's an accident waiting to happen," Martin said. "Unfortunately, someone is going to get hurt trying to make that left hand turn."

With no traffic light helping the cars flow, parents are getting flustered.

"School's supposed to start at 8:15, and sometimes the kiss and go line is backed up to 8:30, 20 of 9, and that's starting to impact learning," Martin added.

Pricipal Peggy Kelley is right in the middle of it, taking matters into her own hands. Since law enforcement agencies don't have the manpower to direct that traffic, kelley is serving as the stoplight.

"Some parents have sat for 20 minutes after they've let their child out of their car, just waiting to move a foot," Kelley said.

Martin says it's a safety issue.

"If we can't get a police officer out here to direct traffic, it certainly shouldn't be our principal," Martin said.

Those at the Department of Transportation are aware of the issue, but it's the lack of funding that's stopping them from installing a traffic light. A representative says they're actively searching for funding to set aside for this project. She says traffic lights typically cost about $200,000, depending on the design.

The Onslow County Board of Commissioners are also planning to discuss a resolution at Monday's meeting to send to the DOT, pushing to get this traffic light installed.

"I am concerned that it is going to take an accident happening to get the attention that this situation needs," Kelley said. "That does bother me a great deal, and it's very sad."

The DOT representative says if funding is approved, it could take at least three months for engineers to design the traffic light, and more time to install.