No barricades, but speed bumps a possibility to combat Southern Shores summer through traffic

No barricades, but speed bumps a possibility to combat Southern Shores summer through traffic

May 7th, 2023

Southern Shores officials are considering another possible means to battle the persistent problems of travelers using the town’s narrow streets to reach their destinations during busy summer weekends.

Over a period of multiple weekends last summer, the town placed barricades at key locations for the weekend in an effort to discourage through traffic along Dogwood Trail, Juniper Trail and other streets.

But the barricades and other measures were discontinued after unintended consequences made traffic worse through the town.

Ogburn said that while the barricades won’t return, they will try other means to stem the flow of summer cut-throughs.

Town Manager Cliff Ogburn said in an email that the Southern Shores Town Council meeting received comments and suggestions from the community at their May 2 meeting about potential ways to deal with traffic.

“The council shared concern with continuing to barricade several streets in an attempt to restrict them to local traffic,” Ogburn said.

Blocking left turns off U.S. 158 onto South Dogwood Trail has also been tried in the past, with little success stemming the flow of drivers who think it will shave a few minutes off the trek to Duck and Corolla to only find out they end up sitting still longer.

And just making the roads only open to certain people, such as residents and those vacationing in homes in the town, are not possible.

“We have shared numerous times about the legal constraints facing the town in closing its public streets,” said Ogburn. “The council also expressed its concern over how the barricades made some drivers and residents confrontational and decided not to use them this year.”

Ogburn said one resident requested the town consider using speed bumps, humps or cushions to reduce speed on some streets.

“The council directed staff to present them with information on the subject at their June 6 meeting for them to consider further,” Ogburn said.

“Other ongoing measures include marketing to the visitors through property managers, signage and other messaging requesting that traffic stay on U.S. 158 and N.C. 12,” Ogburn said. “The town has continued to make progress and gain support from one of the major traffic apps, Waze.”

Data shows cutting through the streets of Southern Shores can make the trip between the Wright Memorial Bridge to Duck village take longer.

Ogburn noted that a key piece in solving the Southern Shores traffic puzzle is construction of another bridge between the mainland and the Outer Banks.

A federal appeals court upheld a ruling that paves the way for construction of a long-planned toll Mid-Currituck bridge over the Currituck Sound.

The action brought by environmental groups and local opponents seeking to block construction of the Mid-Currituck Bridge, is still not considered resolved.

“Recently the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Southern Environmental Law Center request for a rehearing which means they would now have to request the U.S. Supreme Court hear the case,” Ogburn said.

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