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Town to close shortcut popular during congestion

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YOUNGSVILLE — Town officials announced Tuesday they will proceed with a plan to place semipermanent barriers at the intersection of South Nassau and South Cross streets, closing South Nassau to through traffic.

The town plans to enforce the closure no later than 5 p.m. on Feb. 28. The plan is in response to safety concerns brought by several residents regarding traffic that uses South Nassau as a detour to Main Street (N.C. Highway 96) when the highway is congested. Many drivers speed along South Nassau and pose a risk to residents, the town said.

Officials said addressing safety concerns is more important than relieving congestion.

“I understand ... closure of South Nassau to through traffic may increase travel times for some,” Town Administrator Phil Cordeiro said. “However, when elected officials and residents raise concerns of safety — and direct action by town staff — it’s our responsibility to provide stakeholders with all options and allow them to make decisions about how to best manage our community’s streets while ensuring its safety.”

Cordeiro added: “I would like to stress, however, that we will continue to monitor traffic in the area and are open to modifying our plan at any time. As the barriers we’ll use are only semipermanent, we can always remove them in the future if the board decides it’s in the community’s best interests.”

After collecting several months of traffic data, engaging South Nassau residents via a citizen survey, and requesting public comment, Police Chief Greg Whitley presented his findings and recommendations to the town board of commissioners during its Jan. 9. After Chief Whitley’s presentation, the town board voted unanimously to close South Nassau to through traffic.

“Our agency will continue to work toward the best long-term solution that will benefit both our citizens and those traveling through town alike,” Whitley said. “I welcome all comments and recommendations as we continue to improve the safety of our community and develop strategies for the expeditious flow of traffic through town.”

After the closure takes effect, the Youngsville Police Department will increase patrols and observation in the affected area to ensure compliance and provide additional feedback to decision-makers.

“We’re simply doing what we feel is best for community safety,” Mayor Fonzie Flowers said. “One of the great things about living in Youngsville is that our community isn’t afraid to take action when we’re faced with an issue. … I encourage all town residents to provide feedback to town staff and the board of commissioners as this plan unfolds.”

Feedback may be submitted to town officials by calling town hall at 919-925-3401 or by emailing customerservice@townofyoungsville.org.

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