CHARLOTTE, NC -- A year-and-a-half after a Garinger High School senior was hit by a SUV and killed in front of the school, plans are being unveiled to redesign the intersection.
"The city felt it was a dire need for us to improve that area and make it more pedestrian friendly," said Sonji Mosely, transportation project manager for the City of Charlotte.
The Charlotte Department of Transportation hosted a public meeting Tuesday night to show neighbors near the corner of Eastway Drive and East Sugar Creek Road how the city plans to redesign the troubled intersection.
"I think overall it will be a better, safer intersection," said Mosely.
The city plan calls for crosswalks at every corner. Currently the nearest crosswalk is a mile from the intersection. Crews will also widen sidewalks where Garinger students frequently walk. Most notably, the city plans to eliminate a right turn ramp that allows traffic to merge onto Eastway without stopping.
The turn ramp is where 18-year-old Brittany Palmer was trying to cross Eastway when she was hit on March 13, 2012. Police at the scene said the driver of the vehicle wasn't speeding, nor impaired.
The city says a more traditional turn lane will address safety, while still handling the large volume of vehicles needing to turn right.
"A dual right turn lane so vehicles traveling will have to stop," said Mosely.
The redesign is substantially more complex than engineers originally planned. At first, crosswalks were to be the only addition. After Palmer's death, there was growing sentiment among neighbors and Palmer's family that more safety measures were needed.
"They revamped the whole thing because Brittany's touched so many lives," said Katrina White, Palmer's mother.
White said city staff members have kept her in the loop regarding the reconstruction progress. She said the redesign was worth the grief she's endured.
"If we can take this platform and help future people, future children, future families, yeah, it's worth it to me," she said.
Road crews are expected to break ground on the redesign of the Eastway and East Sugar Creek intersection in the summer of 2014. Completion is expected in March 2015, exactly three years after Palmer died.
City Council approved naming the area "Brittany's Crossing" and adding a memorial plaque near the Garinger High School corner.