NCDOT to reduce speed limit on U.S. 158 between water park and bridge

By on July 21, 2022


Citing about 150 vehicle crashes in the past five years, NCDOT announced on July 21 that it will drop the speed limit to 45 mph for the heavily travelled stretch of U.S. 158 between the H2OBX Water Park and the Wright Memorial Bridge.

Here is the information.

The N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will soon be lowering the speed limit on 3.4 miles of U.S. 158 in Currituck County between the H2OBX Water Park and the Wright Memorial Bridge. The speed limit will be reduced from 55 mph to 45 mph.

The speed limit reduction is another step aimed at improving safety on the stretch of busy highway on the Outer Banks. The section of the highway in southern Currituck County has seen 151 vehicle crashes reported in the last five years, resulting in four fatalities, 13 life-threatening injuries, and 88 minor-to-serious injuries.

Win Bridgers, NCDOT’s engineer for the highway division in northeastern North Carolina, said homeowners and businesses in the area were contacted and agreed that changes should be made to improve safety on the stretch of U.S. 158.

“Rumble strips and six-inch pavement markings have already been installed along this section of the highway,” Bridgers said. “Lowering the posted speed limit is another step. In the long-term, more permanent measures are necessary, such as access management.”

Workers will be replacing signs reflecting the lowered speed limit beginning the week of July 25.






  • Travis

    This is a special kind of dumb. The Voice covered a few of these fatal crashes. Let’s review:

    From May 23, 2022 : “According to the NC Highway Patrol, the truck driven by Hudson was traveling south on Rte. 158 around Powells Point when the truck driven by Henry, travelling northbound, crossed left of center resulting in a head-on collision.”

    May 16, 2022: “Skinner is charged in the April 18 collision that resulted in the death of Stephen Gaylord Basnight Jr. of the 900 block of Washington St., Manteo, court documents show.
    According to a search warrant application obtained by Sgt. D.W. Weaver of the N.C. Highway Patrol, Skinner was driving a 2010 Ford Explorer north on N.C. Highway 168 about 6:55 p.m. when she was “unable to control her vehicle in the rain.”
    Weaver said Skinner’s vehicle hydroplaned and traveled left of the center line, then overcorrected and struck head-on a southbound 2019 Ford Escape being driven by Stephen Gaylord Basnight III. Weaver said Trooper R.R. Rouse, who investigated the crash at the scene, “suspects (Skinner’s vehicle) was traveling at an unsafe speed for conditions due to the wet roads.”

    March 25, 2022: “Two drivers were killed and a young child was transported to the hospital after an accident that occurred at about noon on Highway 158 around Powells Point on March 25. The driver of a Chevy pickup heading in the direction of the Wright Bridge strayed left of center and collided with a larger truck carrying a loaded construction debris bin that was headed in the other direction. The pickup came to rest in the center lane while the truck went off the road and ended up in a ditch.

    The first accident was a head on collision. In Skinner’s case she was driving too fast for the wet roads. In the last case, we have another head on collision. Until you get under 40 mph you don’t really significantly affect the survivability chances in a head-on. Oh and Powell’s Point, where two of the crashes happened, is PAST the new lower speed zone. The other one was in Moyock, also not in the new proposed slow speed zone.

    This is one of those “we have to show we’re doing SOMETHING” decisions that makes zero sense. It basically just becomes a speed trap for people heading north who were just on a bridge driving 55 +.

    Thursday, Jul 21 @ 11:37 am
  • Scott

    Great. Thanks to some incompetent drivers, the rest of us have to suffer with this nonsense. What’s next? Get out and walk?
    Plus, this busy stretch of highway is NOT on the Outer Banks. It is on the Currituck Mainland.
    And to Win Bridgers: That is some lazy traffic “engineering”. Did NC State teach you that?

    55 isn’t the problem. Speeding, and people not paying attention is. How about we enforce the laws already in place???

    Thursday, Jul 21 @ 11:55 am
  • Willy C

    They don’t enforce 55 now do you really think they will enforce 45 or can they

    Thursday, Jul 21 @ 12:40 pm
  • John Boy Billy

    It’s not the speeders, it is the people driving 50 to 55 mph in the left lane which by law is a passing lane. If the cops would enforce that, most of this is irrelevant.

    Thursday, Jul 21 @ 3:09 pm
  • BK

    So this will address the drivers texting, distracted talking on phone etc. riding the turn lane oh, and /or driving under the influence?

    Maybe NCDOT could direct attention to a Rt12 N emergency lane.

    Thursday, Jul 21 @ 3:22 pm
  • Greg

    This is a good. However it has to be enforced. A large number of drivers want to go 65-70 in the 55 zone. A look the other way enforcement policy has emboldened these reckless people who need to be more considerate to others. These Richard Petty wannabes are a hazard as they tailgate and weave from one lane to another while half of them are not paying proper attention. Light em up and write em up. If they are 15 mph over they need a reckless driving charge.

    Thursday, Jul 21 @ 5:05 pm
  • Alice Gray

    I can’t believe this.Lowing the speed limit to 45 isn’t going to help what the people in Harbinger needs. We need a stop light at Edgewater Road and 158.We are having wrecks here all the time.We have car’s turning into the Get Go into the Dollar General and they have put a Buffalo City Distillery.On weekend it is so hard for us to get on the road.So please DOT get us a light before there are more fatalities here in Harbinger.

    Thursday, Jul 21 @ 7:36 pm
  • Kat

    I agree. Changing the speed limit will do nothing. Come on now. Think smarter not harder. But it doesnt matter what we the people think. As long as them elected officials get what they want. We can tell them it wont work. And in 1 more year the crashes go up even more they will implement more crap to abide by. Its really comical. How about dont text and drive, pay attention and if ur in the left lane and ur going slow, and use commin sense. Ya know the stuff thats not common anymore. Come on people.

    Thursday, Jul 21 @ 8:05 pm
  • WBN

    This only means that if drivers abide by the speed limit, the impact will be 10 MPH less. The problem is not the speed limit, it is the driver. The GetGo could use a seasonal light. I have had a few close calls there during the summer. No problems in the off season.

    Friday, Jul 22 @ 7:31 am
  • Greg F

    They need to replace the “suicide” lane with a median. Same thing in the OBX. They might have worked back in the ’80s, but there’s too much traffic now.

    Friday, Jul 22 @ 9:20 am
  • Missy

    If the police would enforce the existing speed limits we would not be having this conversation. I go with the flow when driving in Currituck. The flow usually is traveling 65 to 70 mph. Just saying, some blue lights would stop this mess.

    Friday, Jul 22 @ 9:39 am
  • Charles

    You can drop it to 25 and it won’t stop people from driving with their heads down looking at their phones.

    Friday, Jul 22 @ 9:59 am
  • Rob Alderman

    For the last 3 years whenever I have to leave the beach, and come upon a left lane camper doing 50 in the 55MPH……at 5AM on a Wednesday morning….I use the suicide lane to pass…my left blinker makes it legal. Become Ungovernable.

    Friday, Jul 22 @ 10:56 am
  • fingers crossed

    This obviously will not solve all the problems, however its a move in the right direction.
    If it saves just one life it will be an enormous success and make the three miles people have to go 45 a bit easier to tolerate. Much more needs to be done and lets hope its sooner than later.
    There shouldn’t be a death toll threshold to validate attention to dangerous intersections.

    Friday, Jul 22 @ 2:17 pm
  • Just a mom

    I agree with the stop light and think there should be a couple more on up to Grandy. The will keep drivers’ speed in check and also allow for pauses in traffic for all the local residents to safely cross the highway when exiting the many side roads onto 158 in the summer madness.

    Friday, Jul 22 @ 2:34 pm
  • Lisa

    It is much like the law if you are coming from behind you must be at fault. At one point you could defend that with the skills of driver’s. Now the way people assume they can pull in front of your car, pass you from any lane, slam on their brakes, being on their phones- the coming from behind and being at fault law needs to change. Just because you put on your blinker, doesn’t mean there is room for you between the two cars in the other lane. It really is okay to go down a block or two and turn around rather than endangering someone else.

    Friday, Jul 22 @ 6:34 pm
  • Robin Ames

    Is there a way to interrupt the nearly 50 mile center turn lane from Kitty Hawk to the VA border?

    Friday, Jul 22 @ 9:39 pm
  • Penny Robbins

    I think “Just A Mom” has the BEST idea. The NCDOT can put stop lights at busy intersections to slow the traffic down and give the residents in Currituck County a chance to get out on the highway. I live in Skyco on Roanoke Island. The speed limit from the Washington Baum Bridge to Whalebone Junction was lowered from 55 to 45. I and a few others slow down but the rest of the drivers still go 55! I want to say ,”Slow down. You are here! The Beach is not going anywhere.” Steve Basnight, Jr. was a friend and member of Bethany United Methodist Church. His death was so unfortunate!

    Saturday, Jul 23 @ 9:37 am
  • MA1

    The suicide lanes are to enable motorist to make left turns (just as getting onto the street they live) as well as to be able to make a left turn to get onto 168/158. I agree that Currituck County needs to better police the speeding of all cars. For some reason those traveling to the OBX think that they do not have to obey the posted speed limits. Currituck placed speed monitors in the two school zones which flash blue for cars going above the posted school zone limits-but the only way to stop the speeder is for police to pull them over(I doubt they care how fast they are going). We have now entered to age of entitlement, unless you do something to stop them the posted speed means nothing.

    Saturday, Jul 23 @ 7:46 pm
  • KHer

    I think the speed reduction is a good try to see if the accident numbers decline. It is only 3 miles people! No more traffic lights and don’t touch my turning lane.

    Monday, Jul 25 @ 7:26 am