Nelson County, Virginia
For the second time in less than two months a semi tractor trailer rig used for hauling turkeys and chickens wrecked in almost exactly the same location along Route 151 in Nelson County, Virginia.

Back on December 19th of 2009, another tractor trailer used for hauling poultry and using Route 151 as a cut through between I-64 and US 29 jackknifed in almost the same location blocking the road and stranding over 400 drivers on their way home in a snow storm and sub freezing temps. Cars were backed all the way up to Rockfish Gap at one point that night while crews worked to clear the road. Drivers finally were able to make it home shortly after midnight.

Caged turkeys and those that got free as a result of the accident sitting on top of the cages.

According Nelson Emergency Service Coordinator, Ray Uttaro, the driver hit an area of black ice and lost control. At the time of the accident, interstates and local roads in Nelson were in very hazardous condition.

The road was completely reopened for normal traffic around 3PM Wednesday afternoon.

Posted by: project151 | October 10, 2009

151 Accident Slows Traffic Saturday Morning

Crews cleanup what remains of an accident at the intersection of VA Route 151 and Tanbark Drive Saturday morning.

Crews cleanup what remains of an accident at the intersection of VA Route 151 and Tanbark Drive Saturday morning.

Afton, VA

Crews were busy cleaning up another accident on Route 151 Saturday morning. The crash is not believed to be serious but appears to have occurred when a car was turning from 151 and was hit in the rear.

One of the cars involved in the Saturday accident as the scene was being cleared.

One of the cars involved in the Saturday accident as the scene was being cleared.

Attention has been focused on the rural Virginia two lane road ever since three people were all killed at once about 6 miles south of this accident at an unrelated intersection in 2007. A total of five different people were killed in that year along Route 151. Gertrude Johnson was killed at the Tanbark intersection in October 2007. She was one of the five that lost their lives in 151-6 crashes.

Since the speed limit was lowered to 45 MPH along some sections of the highway the death rate has fallen to zero. Improvements are being made in early 2010 at the 635 & 151 intersection where Laura Cavedo and her two children were killed in August 2007. A Ruckersville man eventually plead guilty in that accident and served a total of 90 days.

Screen grab courtesy of www.whsv.com

Screen grab courtesy of http://www.whsv.com

Woodstock, Virginia
Project151.org has long complained that a similar accident along Route 151 in Nelson County, Virginia would be catastrophic. As previously mentioned over 500+ tractor trailer rigs per day transit 151. In complete fairness, statistics do bear that very few of the huge rigs are involved in accidents along the rural Nelson highway. Though the road was built decades ago, long before the amount of traffic seen today on the winding, narrow, two lane stretch of highway. The road is used as a popular cut through for semi rigs between I-81 to I-64 and US Route 29.

This is the very reason project151.org continues to argue that rigs (other than those conducting local business) such as this should be restricted to interstates and proper 4 lane divided highways, so that when such an accident does happen, the collateral damage to people and communities nearby is lessened. Regardless of fault in this particular accident, the car or the truck, the point is that a similar accident here in Nelson would be terribly catastrophic along Route 151.

The complete details of the accident on I-81 can be viewed by clicking on this link: http://www.whsv.com/home/headlines/43326747.html

Posted by: project151 | February 10, 2009

Surveying In The Works Along Route 151 in Nelson County, Virginia

Signs alert drivers of surveying ahead in late January along Virginia Route 151 in Nelson County.

Signs alert drivers of surveying ahead in late January along Virginia Route 151 in Nelson County.

Greenfield/Afton
Nelson County, Virginia

VDOT crews were seen in late January surveying around the intersection of Routes 151 and 635 (Greenfield Road). The survey work is most likely preceding modifications to the intersection to put in a left turn lane in hopes of making the intersection safer. Two years ago this coming August, the intersection was the scene of a triple fatality killing a mother and her two young children.

Residents in the area received certified letters from VDOT dated February 4, 2009. Surveyors were actually seen days before the letters ever reached landowners along the roadway. But the letters do say survey work might continue for months to come.

Since the fatalities, VDOT has been working with local supervisors and safety organizations in developing a safer intersection as funding could be found. The intersection will be paid for with federal money approved in months past.

This past Friday December 12th, 2008 another three car accident occurred on Virginia Route 151 at Old Route 6 (Afton Mountain Road). NelsonCountyLife.com follows the original post here.

Mrs. Linda D’Ambola was one of the people involved in the wreck. Her car was totaled and she went to the hospital. She’s doing fine and recovering at home now, thankfully!


This does show the need for more discussion regarding Route 151 in Virginia. And more discussion regarding the proposed speed limit reduction she discusses in her post. As we have said in previous posts, P-151 has not been completely sure that lowering the speed limit to 45 from Nellysford all the way to Route 250 would necessiarly create entirely positive results. But….this exact situation demonstrates why it just might be a good idea.

As P-151 has also stated in the past, numerous times, VA Route 151 is doing something it was NEVER designed to do. Route 151 is a rural winding two lane highway with no shoulder. When originally designed decades ago it wasn’t carrying 575+ semi rigs a day, plus the thousands of passenger cars it does today. In short, “The cows are out and the gate is open.” Without serious redesign or traffic restrictions along with already implemented speed reductions, the problem grows. Commercial businesses and establishments continue to pop up on 151, and others are proposed, adding more to the already full plate of problems along 151.

Below Linda D’Ambola’s verbatim comments courtesy of www.nelsoncountylife.com

Tommy, Yvette and Adam: Thank you for your kind thoughts and flowers. We are all very, very fortunate. I want to thank all the people who assisted at the accident, especially the Volunteer Rescue team. For fear of missing someone, I will say I remember several smiling faces telling me I was OK. I really needed those words and appreciate the people who took the time to offer assurances. Now may I rant?

Yes, the 5-airbag option that I purchased with the car worked. I never dreamed I would test it. You know how I feel about the speed on Rt. 151 – it needs to be 45mph all the way to Rt. 250. I want to thank you for your efforts to make the changes that have already reduced the speed for a small portion of the road. A slower speed has the potential of allowing people to be more attentive. On Friday the vehicle that was rear-ended on Rt. 151 was pushed into the on-coming traffic which had just passed. After the inattentive vehicle bounced off of the van waiting to make a turn, it came onto Avon Road as I was approaching the stop sign. The vehicle that hit me was moving quite fast and turned my car headon into the bank with him.

Several years ago I sent an email to VDOT HQ in Richmond complaining about the missing 45mph cautionary sign on the northbound lane before the Avon Road intersection. VDOT came and installed 8 route directional signs and has never replaced the 45mph cautionary sign. The holes are still in the post – it would have been easy to replace. It is a mystery to me why VDOT does not get it. The only conclusion I can come to is incompetence. We are not victims of speed and inattention, but blatant, bureaucratic incompetence. Someone at VDOT who is responsible for the situation on Rt. 151 is collecting a paycheck at the taxpayers expense and is asleep at the switch! He or she may be a very nice person, but is completely incompetent for the job.

The local people know most of the trouble spots on Rt. 151, but the tourists, day-workers and delivery vehicles do not know the community, the traffic patterns, or the serious issues that we have on Rt. 151. It is a community at risk all the time from speeding vehicles. I am asking that you have another meeting to push VDOT to extend the reduction of the speed limit all the way to Rt. 250. Do more people have to be injuried or die for this to happen? The community has changed, and VDOT is clueless!!! Neighbors near BBT tell me that there have been at least 7 serious accidents in front of the bank. Everyone who travels Rt. 151 is on a death road, and VDOT either does not care or does not get it!

Thanks for listening to the rant – I guess I feel better already!

Posted by: project151 | December 2, 2008

Speed Reminder Goes Up Along 151 in New 45 MPH Zone

A Virginia State Trooper patrols the new 45 MPH zone along route 151 in Nelson County, Virginia

Photo courtesy of http://www.NelsonCountyLife.com : A Virginia State Trooper patrols the new 45 MPH zone along route 151 in Nelson County, Virginia

Nellysford – Nelson County, Virginia

If you’ve been traveling Virginia Route 151 north out of Nellysford, you have no doubt noticed the new speed reminder radar unit near the intersection of Rodes Farm Drive and Route 151.

As we told you back in November, the new speed limit began taking effect on the roadway that had a high number of fatal auto accidents in 2007.

The radar signs are a warning to drivers to watch their speed along the new 45 MPH zone.

The radar signs are a warning to drivers to watch their speed along the new 45 MPH zone.

With the new 45 MPH zone, a continuous stretch of 151 is now 45 MPH from just north of Bland Wade Road all the way south into Nellysford.

Nelson BOS Chairman, Tommy Harvey is now proposing, and has asked VDOT to decrease the speed limit along Route 151 to 45 MPH all the way from Route 250 at Rockfish Gap, south to Nellysford. (See 4th paragraph in linked minutes)

Posted by: project151 | November 7, 2008

Speed Limit Change Takes Effect On Other Parts of Route 151

New 45 MPH speed limits signs went up this past week between Route 6E and points south toward Nellysford, Virginia

New 45 MPH speed limits signs went up this past week between Route 6E and points south toward Nellysford, Virginia

As we first told you back in June of this year, The Nelson BOS voted to lower the speed limit on another section of VA Route 151 between Route 6E and Nellysford. In December of 2007 a portion of 151 north toward Greenfield was lowered from 55 MPH to 45 in response to one of the deadliest years in traffic history along the winding rural two highway in Nelson County, Virginia. An outcry from citizens prompted changes to the highway built decades ago.

Prior to the most recent 45 MPH speed limit change, drivers traveling south on Route 151 toward Nellysford would be in the 45 MPH zone until just past Martin Store Substation, then the speed limit would increase back to 55 MPH for a short distance, only to drop back to 45 MPH as you entered Nellysford.

Bland Wade Road & Virginia Route 151 Intersection

Bland Wade Road & Virginia Route 151 Intersection

The newest change now makes Route 151 a consistent 45 MPH from just north of Bland Wade Road near the area of Afton Family Medicine and Five Star Health & Fitness, all of the way south into Nellysford, Virginia

Posted by: project151 | October 31, 2008

Community Meeting : VA Route 151 : November 12, 2008

According to published newspaper accounts in the Nelson County Times on October 29, 2008 – there will be a community meeting regarding the status of VA Route 151 in Nelson County, Virginia. Here is the part of the story that makes that reference:

“On Nov. 12, North Distirct Supervisor Tommy Harvey and Central District Supervisor Connie Brennan will hold a town hall meeting at the Rockfish Valley Community Center at 7 p.m. to discuss Va. 151 and other topics.

The supervisors will be there to discuss anything, Harvey said, but hope to have representatives from the Virginia Department of Transportation there as well.

“We’ll review where we’ve come from and where we’re going in the future,” Harvey said. “We need input and help. We can’t just do it by ourselves as supervisors.”

The meeting will be held at The Rockfish Valley Community Center in Afton, Virginia where Project 151 held their first community meeting in October 2007. Additional links here.

Screengrab from part 3 of the NCT articles on Route 151 in Nelson County, Virginia

Screengrab from part 3 of the NCT articles on Route 151 in Nelson County, Virginia

In the third and final part of their series, The Nelson County Times Newspaper looks at how the community has responded over the past year to improvements along Route 151 in Nelson County, Virginia

By Erin McGrath
Nelson County Times
Published: October 29, 2008

A year ago, two vehicle accidents killed four people on Va. 151 in Nelson County, making it the deadliest year for motorists on the road in a decade.

Alarming as the deaths were, the accidents galvanized the community to begin to make changes on the 18-mile scenic byway that runs from Va. 833 near Brent’s Gap to Va. 250 near Avon, to make it safer.

That was no small challenge.

An average of about 60 accidents that were occurring per year, with more than 30 injuries and one death per year, until citizen groups were formed, speed limits were dropped and new signage was posted along the route.

These changes seemed to be working, authorities say.

Only 13 accidents occurred on Va. 151 from January to July 31, injuring five people. That total is less than half the number of accidents that occur during that time frame in previous years.

The two wrecks that got statewide attention happened in the fall of last year.

On Aug. 30, 2007, Laura Cavedo, 48 and her two daughters, Elschen Strickler, 12 and Iliana Strickler, 9, were killed near the intersection of Va. 151 and Va. 635 and 33 days later, on Oct. 2, 2007, Gertrude Ann Johnson, 54, was killed near the intersection of Va. 151 and Va. 840.

In September of 2007, a group of citizens formed Project 151, which is a non-profit group formed to improve safety along Va. 151 and Va. 6 in Nelson County.

“When three people are killed outside your front door, it makes an impact. We just said enough was enough,” Project 151 spokesman Tommy Stafford said during a public meeting the organization held last October. “We couldn’t ignore it.”

During a recent interview, Stafford said he thinks there will always be a need for the organization.

“Last year was unprecedented. Something had to be done,” Stafford said. “I think we need to always be around, just as a kind of check and balances group.”

Last October, a group of citizens, elected officials, law enforcement officers and the Virginia Department of Transportation were formed as the Route 151 Working Group to discuss changes needed along the road to make it safer.

“It’s the usual thing,” Nelson County Central District Supervisor Connie Brennan said. “It takes a horrible thing to get people galvanized to make change happen. It’s a bad road.”

Physical changes to the road included lower speed limits and new signs.

Last December, the speed limit from the intersection of Va. 151 and Va. 6 East near Martin’s Store to three-tenths of a mile past the intersection of Va. 151 and Va. 784 near Greenfield was dropped from 55 miles per hour to 45 miles per hour.

This was an area VDOT had seen as a dangerous one.

“The 664 to 250 was really what we determined was the big area of emphasis as we looked at where the accidents were happening,” VDOT representative Kevin Wright said. “That was where our trouble spots were.”

New highway signs proclaiming “areas of increased enforcement” were also posted last December.

Wright said the road isn’t where they would like it to be, but it is better than what it was.

“When I look at the number of crashes that are occurring on that section of road it has gone from one of the worst to one of the safest roads in the county,” he said.

There are more changes coming down the pipeline.

On Nov. 12, North Distirct Supervisor Tommy Harvey and Central District Supervisor Connie Brennan will hold a town hall meeting at the Rockfish Valley Community Center at 7 p.m. to discuss Va. 151 and other topics.

The supervisors will be there to discuss anything, Harvey said, but hope to have representatives from the Virginia Department of Transportation there as well.

“We’ll review where we’ve come from and where we’re going in the future,” Harvey said. “We need input and help. We can’t just do it by ourselves as supervisors.”

Almost $1 million in funding was approved for turn lanes at the Va. 151 and Va. 635 intersection and Wright said preliminary design work has begun on that project.

In August, the Nelson County Board of Supervisors formally asked for the speed limit from Nellysford to the intersection of Va. 151 and Va. 6 east to be lowered from 55 miles per hour to 45 miles per hour.

Wright said VDOT is also working to obtain federal funds for centerline traffic rumble strips to be placed along Va. 151.

We’re hoping to authorize the funds very soon on that so we can start putting a contract together on that to get the work done,” Wright said.

Kendall Cavedo Maynard, of North Carolina, is the sister of Cavedo. She said she has noticed some of the changes, but not all, made since last year during some of her trips to Nelson.

“I am very impressed by all the changes that I have noticed and extremely grateful to the residents and officials in the community that made them,” Maynard said.

“My sister would have wanted all the changes possible to make it safer for everyone. I thank the community and believe they have truly honored the memory of my sister and nieces.”

Posted by: project151 | October 22, 2008

Nelson County Times : “Shaken By Death” Part 2

Screengrab from Part 2 of the NCT series on Virginia Route 151 in Nelson County, Virginia

Screengrab from Part 2 of the NCT series on Virginia Route 151 in Nelson County, Virginia

In the second part of their series, The Nelson County Times Newspaper looks back over the past year along Route 151 in Nelson County, Virginia.

By Erin McGrath
Nelson County Times
Published: October 22, 2008

Two vehicle accidents killed four people last year on the 18-mile stretch of Virginia 151 in Nelson County that extends from Virginia 833 near Brent’s Gap to U.S. 250 near Avon, making it the deadliest year along this road in a decade.

The deaths of a mother and her two daughters after a crash on Aug. 30, 2007 near the intersection of Virginia 151 and Virginia 635 left first-responders shaken, gave county authorities pause and galvanized the community into action.

Gary Radford, captain of the Nelson County Rescue Squad, was one of the first medical personnel on the scene that day. He said it was one of the worst accidents he had worked on because of the children.

“We’re trained well to handle kids in medical emergencies but to handle a death of a kid is entirely different,” Radford said. “It’s something that’s hard to deal with. I’m a father, I’m a grandfather, so that kinda hit me pretty hard.”

The road is home to numerous Nelson County residents and businesses.

“It’s a residential road,” Nelson County Sheriff David Brooks said about Virginia 151. “There are a lot of businesses on 151. It’s also a scenic route, a tourist route to Wintergreen and to the Blue Ridge mountains.”

Brooks said the road can be deceptively dangerous if drivers aren’t paying attention.

“It can be quite dangerous, simply because driving is a job. (Drivers) have to be aware of their surroundings at all times,” he said. “There are a lot of blind spots on 151.”

Thirty-three days after the Aug. 30 accident, another woman was killed along Virginia 151 near the intersection of Route 840 when an oncoming vehicle swerved into her lane.

These four deaths in six weeks prompted lower speed limits, the organization of civic groups and the increased enforcement of speed limit laws along Virginia 151.

It was just after 1 p.m. on Aug. 30, a sunny Thursday afternoon, when Laura Cavedo, 48, was traveling south in her 2005 Honda Civic on Virginia 151 with her two daughters, Elschen Strickler, 12, and Iliana Strickler, 9.

The trio were in the process of moving to their new home in Crozet and were headed back to their home in Greenfield to pick up another load. Laura, Elschen and Iliana were all wearing their seat belts.

That same morning, a Ruckersville man, Shawn Andrew Lloyd, was also traveling south on Virginia 151 in a box truck on his way to a job.

Cavedo stopped on Virginia 151 and was waiting to turn onto Virginia 635, when Lloyd’s truck rear-ended her car, sending it into oncoming traffic.

Elschen and Iliana were killed instantly when another vehicle, a van, struck Cavedo’s vehicle head-on.

Lloyd was charged with reckless driving. During his trial in Nelson County Circuit Court in May, Lloyd said he fell asleep at the wheel.

Scott Goodman, Lloyd’s attorney, noted during the trial that Lloyd was driving under the speed limit and that he had not been using drugs or alcohol. A later examination of Lloyd’s vehicle by law enforcement found “numerous problems” with the brakes, according to authorities.

“He awakened in time, but not in control of the vehicle,” Goodman said. “It’s just a horrible thing.”

Nelson County Emergency Services Coordinator Ray Uttaro arrived at the scene of the accident to find Lloyd and the van driver uninjured.

“The first thing I saw was one person on the road, I went to the immediately and asked if they were OK,” Uttaro said. “He stated that he was fine. I went to the next patient, which was the person in the van, and asked if they were doing OK.”

When the driver of the van said he was fine, to go help the others, Uttaro tried.

“There wasn’t a lot I could do,” Uttaro said. “Our medical team was right on top of the situation and they very much had the situation under control.”

They extricated Cavedo and flew her to UVa University Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead.

Traffic was rerouted around the scene for hours.

In May, Lloyd was found guilty of reckless driving and sentenced to serve three months in jail and fined $1,000 fine plus court costs.

Around 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 2, 2007, Gertrude Ann Johnson, 54, of Nellysford, was traveling on Virginia 151 near Virginia 840 with Betty Sanford, 63, of Greenfield, when a vehicle driven by Lloyd Wayne Puckett, 65, swerved across a double-solid center line and into their lane, hitting their car head-on.

Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene, Virginia State Police said, and Puckett and Sanford were injured and taken to UVa Medical Center.

Puckett was found guilty of improper driving in November of 2007 and fined $250 plus $61 in court costs.

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.