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NCDOT traffic engineers are planning changes that should make drivers more alert to the dangers of a sharp curve in Durham where five people have died in high-speed crashes since 1992.
Matthew Grape, a Duke University senior, was killed Sept. 15 when a car driven by a fellow student crashed into trees near a curve on N.C. 751 (Academy Road) just south of Duke University Road. The speed limit is 35 mph, but investigators said the car was traveling at 70 mph.
Four other people died in two crashes at the same spot in the 1990s, in cars going faster than 80 mph. Alcohol was involved in all three crashes.
Kelly L. Becker, a regional DOT traffic engineer, recommended today that DOT install three black-on-yellow arrow chevrons on the outside of the curve, replacing one there now. She recommended two new signs to remind northbound drivers that they are approaching the curve, and the relocation of an existing curve-ahead sign to provide more advance warning for southbound drivers.
"I think this will provide more visibility for that curve," Becker said. "It is a pretty sharp curve."