Motorists on Lake Earl Drive must now stop at the intersection of Morehead and Kings Valley roads in Fort Dick.
Lake Earl Drive now includes a four-way stop at its intersection with Morehead and Kings Valley roads in Fort Dick. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
County workers were putting the finishing touches on the new four-way stop sign Tuesday. New crosswalks and “stop ahead” signs were also added.
Clyde Eller, owner of Eller’s Fort Dick Market, said he hasn’t seen any traffic accidents due to the new stop signs, but two to three people failed to stop.
“A lot of people are saying it’s a matter of time until we have fender benders and so forth,” he said. “It’s a very, very busy intersection. The population has probably quadrupled, (putting) a lot more traffic on the road over the last 20 to 30 years.”
Eller, whose market has been in business for more than 30 years, said Pelican Bay State Prison and Redwood School are the main traffic generators on Lake Earl Drive. There have been accidents in that area in the past, especially when drivers run the stop sign on Kings Valley or Morehead, he said.
The county Board of Supervisors voted for the four-way stop signs at its Dec. 10 meeting. Traffic volumes increase when school starts in the morning and again when students get out of class in the afternoon, according to County Engineer Jim Barnts. Prison shift changes also drive traffic volume on Lake Earl Drive. At peak hours from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., there can be more than 250 cars on Lake Earl Drive and 120 cars on Kings Valley Road.
Foot traffic to and from Redwood School, as well as Fort Dick Market, is also heavy, Barnts said.