MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Anyone traveling west on Highway 24, also known as Lejeune Boulevard, from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune after getting off work has most likely experienced the high volume of traffic. A commute from work to home that would normally take only 15 minutes during non-peak traffic hours can often take more than an hour.
In an attempt to combat this problem, officials from the city of Jacksonville and MCB Camp Lejeune and have partnered up with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to make timing changes to the traffic lights at three intersections heading west on Highway 24, after leaving the base.
“These changes are scheduled to begin Oct. 13, and will affect the following intersections on Highway 24: Corbin Street, Pine Valley and Western Boulevard,” said Joe Ramirez, director, Marine Corps Liaisons for Government and External Affairs for MCB Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River.
The timing changes to the lights will take place automatically Monday through Friday, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. The lights will run as normal during all other times throughout the week.
“This change is to allow more green light time, so traffic coming off the base can push through Highway 24 and get to their homes more quickly,” said Ramirez.
Drivers coming from Corbin Street, Pine Valley Road or Western Boulevard wanting to turn onto Highway 24 during the times mentioned will have an extended wait time when the light is red.
The green light at the three intersections will now remain green for four and a half minutes, said Ramirez. This is 50 seconds longer than the normal green light time.
During these new green light times, the red lights that drivers face coming from the side streets onto Highway 24 will now be red 50 seconds longer than the normal amount of time. When the light turns green for those drivers, it will remain green the same length of time it has always been, which is approximately 30 seconds.
As the light timing changes take effect, the Jacksonville Police Department will periodically monitor the three intersections to ensure drivers aren’t blocking the intersections, said Ramirez. Anyone caught blocking the roadways will receive a citation.
“The police officers are going to be cracking down hard and issuing tickets,” said Ramirez. “If people are blocking the intersections, they defeat the whole purpose of this initiative, and therefore the city is going to be cracking down.”
These light timing changes will be monitored by officials from Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville and the NC DOT, and any adjustments to the light timing will be made as needed.
The city of Jacksonville will be placing electronic message boards and aluminum signs at these intersections to warn drivers to expect traffic light delays, said Ramirez.
“The main purpose of the light synchronization is to decongest traffic, get it off the base and get people home through the communities, rather than tie up the main thoroughfares of Highway 24 and Western Boulevard,” said Ramirez. “The second focus is to ensure people are aware of what is about to take place so that they can plan around it or for it, if they need to.”
Light timing changes for morning traffic are being considered and may take effect in the future.
For more information, call 451-7645.