Posted by: project151 | December 2, 2007

Media Watch : News Virginian Newspaper : VDOT to lower speed limit on dangerous stretch

 

VDOT to lower speed limit on dangerous stretch
By Michael L. Owens

The News Virginian
Saturday, December 1, 2007
The late-summer car crash that killed a mother and her two daughters has led to a lower speed limit and increased law enforcement along some of Virginia 151.

Advocates for such changes were pleased Friday after the Virginia Department of Transportation announced it would lower the speed limit from 55 mph to 45 mph along a 2½-mile run north from the intersection of Virginia 6 and 151 in Nellysford.

“It’s more movement in the right direction,” said Tommy Stafford, co-organizer of pro-change group Project 151.
New speed limit signs should start marking the roadside by Thursday, said Kevin Wright, assistant district administrator for VDOT. Also expected by then is an increased presence of sheriff’s deputies and Virginia State Police troopers.

“We’re hoping that this will prevent some accidents and lessen the impact of others,” Wright said.

The change fails to address problems on other portions of 151, advocates and officials said.

“This alone won’t remedy the problem, but it’s another added layer of improvement,” Stafford said.

Debate swirling over the road intensified Tuesday when a head-on wreck hospitalized three people. It was the latest in a string of major crashes.

On Aug. 30, Laura Cavedo and her daughters, Elschen Strickler, 12, and Iliana Strickler, 9, died when their car was rear-ended by a box truck and shoved into oncoming traffic. That wreck happened about a half-mile north of Tuesday’s crash.

The Cavedo wreck sparked the VDOT study calling for the lower speed limit.

“It’s an area we’ve seen a lot of accidents and increased congestion in,” Wright said. “Looking at all the crash data … we felt like [decreasing the speed limit] was definitely warranted at this time.”

Nearly five miles away from the sight of Cavedo’s death is where Gertrude Ann Johnson, 54, of Nellysford, died on Oct. 2.
Authorities said she was killed when a car in the opposite lane swerved across the double-solid line.

Johnson’s crash site is outside the boundaries affected by the speed limit decrease.

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