BOONE – Motorists on N.C. 194 North going out of Boone toward Meat Camp and vice versa should be aware of a new change to the speed limits going past Goober Peas and Howard’s Creek Road, which is now 35 mph going from town limits almost to Ray Brown Road.
The change is a recent one by the N.C. Department of Transportation, due to a high rate of crashes in the area. Previously, the straight stretch of road south of the intersection of Brookshire Road to town limits was a designated 45 mph zone.
“We did not want the speed limit to bounce from 35 to 45 to 35 and back to 45 in less than a mile,” said NCDOT spokesperson David Uchiyama. “We extended the 35 mph zone through the s-curves in the vicinity of Brookshire Road.”
Uchiyama said that from a five-year period going form Aug. 1, 2013, to July 31, 2018, the area had a higher crash rate than average, with 21 off-road crashes in the vicinity of N.C. 194 and Brookshire Road intersection in the S-curve, eight crashes where a vehicle was run off the road during dark conditions in the area, as well as three rear-end crashes and one side-swipe opposite direction crash. Uchiyama also added that research shows that motorists routinely travel faster than the posted speed limits in the area.
Currently, the S-curve near the Brookshire Road intersection on N.C. 194 has a posted speed limit of 30 mph for the duration of the curve, with southbound signs close to the intersection with Clint Norris Road and Rainbow Trail directing motorists to slow down to 25 mph due to traffic merging onto N.C. 194.
The two-lane stretch of N.C. 194 North going out of Boone is often busy, serving as an artery for those in the Meat Camp, Green Valley and Todd communities to commute into Boone. Wrecks on the road can easily lead to traffic backups for miles in both directions, especially during rush hours.
The decision, Uchiyama said, was made by NCDOT traffic services and is currently being enforced by local law enforcement.