WCU adds stoplight to front of campus

This story was co-written with Haley Smith.

The new stoplight will be placed at the intersection of Centennial Drive and University Way, near Bardo Arts Center. Photo by Jeffery Neufeld.

Western Carolina University is adding a second traffic light on campus.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is funding and installing the new light at the request of the university. It will be placed at the intersection of Centennial Drive and University Way, at the corner of Bardo Arts Center.

Fred Bauknecht, WCU’s director of parking and transportation, said the light is “much-needed.”

“The reason for the addition of a light is readily apparent at certain times of the day – in particular the morning, noon and afternoon rush hours,” said Bauknecht. “It can be difficult to make left turns at that intersection during busy, high-traffic times of the day.”

Bauknecht said the addition will make the intersection safer for motorists and pedestrians.

“I personally believe the installation of the traffic light at the entrance of Cordelia Camp will greatly improve, not only the flow of traffic for faculty, staff, visitor and commuter parking, but should also result in a positive impact for pedestrians using the crosswalk areas,” said Danielle Harris, assistant director of admissions at WCU. “As Western continues to grow in a positive direction, the traffic light seems to be a very smart investment.”

The DOT is responsible for the schedule of road work and will be doing construction on and off for the next month and half. The main arm of the light structure is currently being constructed, according to Bauknecht. The DOT is working on installing sensors under the road in the meantime.

The light is expected to be functional by the end of April.

Until then, Bauknecht added that parking enforcement has stepped up its efforts to monitor the intersection. They will be monitoring that location at 5 p.m. on weekdays until the traffic light is functional.

This addition continues the growth that WCU has seen over recent years with the addition of Noble Hall, and the renovations currently in progress on Brown Cafeteria. Western Carolina also has plans to construct a new Natural Sciences Building.

Related story from The Sylva Herald on WCU’s “building spree