As the population of Fort Bragg continues to grow and more employees settle into Moore and Hoke counties, commuters have seen a noticeable increase in the traffic flow along Chicken and Plank roads on the Fort Bragg reservation.
That increase, along with the thousands of vehicles that travel the rest of the post’s other busy streets and highways, has prompted post officials to look at ways of alleviating the recent congestion.
“The increased traffic volume along Chicken Road is because of development in southern Cumberland County and northern Hoke County commuting to Fort Bragg,” explained Ray Goff, traffic planner at the post’s Directorate of Public Works. “They’re driving up Chicken Road from the housing developments in those two counties to get to work.
Goff, along with Sey Nam, who’s also a traffic planner for the post, said a lot of the traffic comes from the area near Hoke County’s Wayside Road, which has seen a huge increase in residents, since the arrival of U.S. Army Forces Command to Fort Bragg.
“Wayside Road is a very busy road and they’re commuting to work. There are about 10,000 trips per day on a two-lane road, which is very heavy,” Goff said.
Because of the volume of traffic on the road and the fact that there have been several accidents along Plank and Chicken roads in the past few years, many commuters have labeled it a dangerous thoroughfare. Nam said there are other factors that have contributed to label.
“That particular stretch of road — Chicken and Plank— is wide open. It’s straight, but we have a posted speed limit. I’ve noticed that a lot of times, the people who travel along the road tend to disregard the speed limit beyond what’s authorized. Naturally, when you go beyond what has been posted, you create a dangerous environment,” he explained.
Goff pointed out that there are not many alternatives that drivers can take to alleviate their traffic concerns … yet. However, he said, the post has some plans in the works.
“There’s not much (they can do), as far as changing their routes, unless they want to come in through the All American gate, which would be a real, round-a-bout way to get to work. Once the I-295 project is built out to Cliffdale Road, that would be a way for them to come in, but that’s a way’s out.”
Goff said the near-term plan is to widen and add left turn lanes to the intersections at the African Lion and Tora Bora intersections, near Chicken and Plank roads.
“Both of these intersections will be widened for left turn lanes into African Lion and Tora Bora,” Goff said. “That will reduce a lot of the confusion and potential danger along the corridor.”
“Right now, there’s a brand new Chicken Road access control point construction going on and that’s going to help the commuters to come in,” Nam said. “Once they clear the checkpoint, there’s going to be no waiting at the older place up the street.
Nam pointed out that the new Chicken Road ACP” is located farther along Chicken Road than the current location and will create less of a bottleneck for traffic entering the post when coupled with the new, expanded traffic lanes for approaching traffic.
“There’s new ACP being built farther out and that will change the traffic pattern quite a bit for incoming traffic,” Goff explained.
“Typically, you get a lot of wait time, or congestion before you reach the ACP, but once you get past it, it flows well,” Nam said.
Nam also pointed out that the temporary traffic signal, which sits at the intersection of Plank Road and the entrance to the 108th Air Defense Artillery’s facility, came out of necessity and members of the unit found it hard merging with the high volume of traffic on the road.
“When they initially built the place and we did not have any trucks there, there was no problem. Now, since the ADA guys are occupying that particular area, we have received comments from the unit,” he said.
“With the new ACP coming on line and with this construction, I think we’re not going to see any more congestion problems that we may have incurred at the Patriot’s Point intersection,” Nam added.