Controversial intersection gets traffic lights

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 11, 2004

Two months after a Nansemond River High School student was severely injured in a car accident while leaving school, the Virginia Department of Transportation has installed a traffic signal at the location on Nansemond Parkway.

Flashing red lights were turned on around midday Wednesday to alert motorists to the new signal at the intersection of the school entrance and Nansemond Parkway. The new stoplight will be fully activated on Friday, nearly two weeks ahead of schedule.

VDOT fast-tracked a proposal to install the new traffic signal after NRHS senior Christina Maupin collided with a flat-bed truck when she pulled out of the school parking lot on Sept. 15.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;It was definitely needed and it was put up quickly,&uot; said Brian Maupin, Christina’s older brother and a former Nansemond River teacher, on Wednesday.

&uot;She will definitely think it is a good thing that the light has been put up,&uot; he added. &uot;I’m just sad that it took something like this before VDOT did what they should have done when the school was built.&uot;

Christina – a former cheerleader with aspirations to study at the University of Virginia – is doing well and will make a full recovery, Brian reports.

&uot;She is walking and talking,&uot; he said. &uot;She has physical therapy goals to meet before she can come home. But there’s no doubt that she will be right back where she was before.&uot;

Both the new traffic signal and the recent VDOT regulation prohibiting through truck traffic will make traffic around the school easier and safer for students and passing motorists alike, said NRHS principal Thomas McLemore.

&uot;Traffic has just increased so much on this road in the past couple of years,&uot; he said. &uot;There is just a lot of traffic out here and we need to emphasize the need for our students to drive safe.&uot;

Hopefully, Christina’s accident has made her fellow students aware of the need to use caution in the driver’s seat, he said.

&uot;Young people always think they are invincible, that they will live forever,&uot; said McLemore. &uot;I think this has made some of them realize that life is a precious thing.&uot;

Mike Corwin, district engineer at VDOT, credited the community’s support for the rapid completion of work at the intersection.

Although a recent traffic study indicated that neither intersection at the high school carries enough traffic to meet the federal regulations for a traffic signal, VDOT partnered with school officials to make adjustments to the parking lot and existing entrances to meet regulatory requirements.

&uot;We could not have finished this intersection ahead of schedule without strong support from the high school and neighborhood,&uot; said Corwin.

&uot;The school identified this intersection as a top priority and worked with us to make adjustments to their parking area so that the standards for a signal were met.&uot;