Each work day morning, thousands of Cherry Point-bound motorists arrive at Havelock’s main intersection — and they all seem to do it at the same time.


Each work day morning, thousands of Cherry Point-bound motorists arrive at Havelock’s main intersection — and they all seem to do it at the same time.



From about 6:30 to 7 a.m., traffic backs up on West Main Street and Miller Boulevard as drivers try to squeeze onto Fontana Boulevard to get to the base’s main gate. Inpatient drivers will sometimes pull into the intersection and get stuck there as the lights cycle, blocking other drivers and creating traffic jams that can cause more delays.



“Everybody’s hard-working people,” Havelock Police Chief David Magnusson said. “But we have to keep the traffic flowing.”



Havelock police set up patrols at the intersection last week, warning drivers that blocking the intersection — even if they enter under a green light — is illegal. It’s part of a crackdown that started last month and resulted in 27 tickets being issued to drivers who blocked the intersection.



Last week, police approached vehicles blocking the intersection and issued only verbal warnings this time around, Magnusson said.



He said complaints about the traffic delays at the intersection prompted the crackdown.



“Nine to one, the people that were calling to complain were calling about the intersection being blocked,” Magnusson said.



He said most drivers have responded positively to the crackdown.



“We’ve gotten calls from people thanking us for keeping the intersection open,” Magnusson said. “I think the same people that called us because of the delays were also the same people that called us to thank us for keeping it open.”



Magnusson said the department has worked with the base to spread the word that drivers are not allowed to block the intersection.



“I think that just speaks volumes,” he said. “Everybody understands, or they should understand and of course we wanted to go that route, that extra step and quell the situation without having to write these tickets.”



Magnusson took the step of announcing in advance his intention to have police officers at the intersection during rush hour. But that didn’t stop all the problems. When drivers blocked the intersection, officers walked out and issued 27 verbal warnings, pointing out the problems associated with their actions.



“At least, for now, because it is somewhat circular, the traffic flow should be good and then in a month or two or maybe three, we’ll have this issue again, just looking at it from past history, and we’re going to have to address it again,” Magnusson said. “People that go through the intersection this month are going to be the same ones that go through it three months from now and I would just ask this: Keep the intersection open. That’s the driving point we’re trying to make. I’m very happy that we worked collectively, all of us, to bring this traffic situation to a halt. I hope the lesson is learned, traffic wise.”