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Wilmington to improve intersection after car crashes into fountain

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TWC News: Wilmington to improve intersection after car crashes into fountain
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WILMINGTON — The city of Wilmington is exploring ways to protect both drivers and a historic downtown landmark.

The Kenan Memorial Fountain has sustained damage over the years from vehicles hitting the sides, and citizens say something needs to be done before someone gets hurt. The fountain has a long history in the city of Wilmington.

"[The fountain] was put here in 1921. It's a landmark, an iconic landmark. It's been giving trouble to traffic since the early days, actually," said executive director of the Bellamy Mansion Museum Gareth Evans.

From his office, Evans sees accidents on an almost daily basis at the intersection of 5th and Market.

"We see dozens of people a day turning left or going all the way around there. They tend to get stuck or nearly hit," said Evans.

Two weeks ago, a car took out part of the curb surrounding the fountain. Now, Evans said it's time for something to be done.

"I think some rumble strips, maybe a camera, different lighting pointing the way forward. There are two signs up that say don't turn left. But people tend to ignore that," said Evans.

Evans is not the only one who's recognized the need for change. Corporal Kevin Smith of the Wilmington Police Department the damage from the last accident has generated questions about what other steps the city can take to protect the fountain.

“One of the ideas was something along the lines of rumble strips. Reflectors might be another one. You know, there are a bunch of ideas on how to make that traffic circle a little more visible," said Cpl. Smith.

While speed bumps and extra signage may help, police say making the intersection safer is ultimately up to drivers. The idea of a roundabout has also been discussed as a possible way of improving the intersection.

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