About

Project 151 is a non-profit organization made up of citizens, media, and police veterans to name a few, from the Route 151 & 6 area concerned about improving safety along both of these highways.

Project 151 supports:

Strict enforcement of all speed and trucking laws including citations to any drivers exceeding the current speed limits and trucking lengths.

-A plan to eliminate through semi trucks using exit 99 to Route 250 to 151 to 6 to U.S. 29 as a cut through. Project 151 does not want the elimination of large trucks using these highways as part of local commerce or on deliveries. Examples of businesses that need the daily use of 151 & 6 are gravel hauling operations, construction operations, logging trucks, semi trucks using these routes to make deliveries to Nelson businesses. Project 151 supports these kinds of operations and commerce and has NO plans to ask for the elimination of these types of operations.

-Data gathering – Project 151 and its volunteers are working to gather public data along with their own research to address the dangerous situation on Routes 151 & 6.

-Project 151 supports physical improvements to Routes 151 & 6 to make travel safer on these highways. Improvements such as turn lanes where appropriate are just one example. Round-a-bouts would be another. Project 151 opposes any major expansion projects to the existing routes that would change the overall rural character of these roads. Project 151 is on record as opposing any plan that would four lane Routes 151 & 6. Such a move would engourage more traffic and destroy the scenic beauty of the Rockfish Valley.

-Project 151 supports improvements to the I-64 & U.S. 29 interchanges to improve the flow of all traffic exiting the interstate. This would be a long term solution routing trucks to that exit eliminating any tendency to use 151 & 6 as a cut through.

-As a long term goal Project 151 supports the adoption of a parkway system by federal designation to preserve the natural beauty of Routes 151 & 6, insuring that Nelson County maintains its natural beauty that it is famous for nationwide. Project 151 is and continues to work with federally elected representatives and authorities to design such a plan. A goal of 5 years has been set to accomplish the parkway plan.

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Responses

  1. Thank you for all your efforts. I am a 151 resident in the Afton area and am always terrified to turn in and out of my drive way.
    Just last week we had a trucker who couldn’t stop in time for the school bus that was picking up my two children. Thank God he was going in the opposite direction of the bus. He laid on his brakes, skidding and smoking his tires, then let off and went on when he realized that he wasn’t going to be able to stop before he reached the bus.

    I have written to Governor Kaine asking him to help with getting VDOT to make 151 a safer road for all by lowering speed limits and restricting large truck traffic.

    For all my normal everyday worries about 151, I now have the addition of having a son who has his learners and is learing to drive on this dangerous road.

    Thank you again.
    Teresa Stevens

  2. Thank you, Project 151, for taking on this laborious, but necessary struggle for our safety. Every time I want to leave my house, I must turn either right or left onto 151 from Rodes Farm. Regardless of the direction I go, I risk being killed by a speeding truck coming over the hill about twice the speed limit there and with no ability to stop before hitting me. It is unnerving, to say the least. How many times have I been narrowly missed? Too many to count. Each time my heart pounds wildly. Knowing you can be killed any day, along with everyone else in your car, takes the pleasure out of any drive around here. As for surviving once you make it onto 151, the odds are against you for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the lack of turn lanes. We are sitting ducks at every corner or driveway. There are posted signs marking 35 or 45 miles per hour limits, but trucks go over 60 through those zones. Some go over 70. And we have never seen a truck stopped and ticketed. Or anyone else for that matter. It is surreal. It is not calm and pastoral. That is the big illusion. It is terrifying and Kafkaesque. It is a game of Russian roulette. And we shouldn’t have to be playing it. No matter how much it costs a trucking company to go around. No matter how much the Board of Supervisors likes the status quo.
    Thank you for caring about our lives, especially our children’s lives.
    Good luck achieving your goals.
    May God walk with you.

    Olivia Ellis

  3. Olivia, you are right. It is an uphill battle. We simply do not understand why this issue has been ignored for so long. Thank you so very much for your kind comments. They are an inspiration that guides us toward a permanent fix to this very bad problem.

    P-151

  4. I feel much gratitude for the effort those of you working on Project 151 are making on behalf of all of us in this community. Like so many others, I was deeply affected by the violent death of Laura Cavedo and her young daughters.

    I have traveled Route 151 about 3 days a week for the past 14 years of living in Nellysford. At first, this choice of routes felt more safe to me — taking the bucolic country road rather than the highway. It is in the past few years that I’ve become increasingly nervous on this road. More traffic, more trucks, and everyone seeming to be in a hurry.

    I can’t throw stones because I used to drive within the acceptable range around 55 mph on this road in order to “make time” getting to Charlottesville. Last year, I started making a conscious effort to slow down to around 45 while on 151. This feels more manageable given all of the entry roads, intersections, blind curves, and animals that can create driving obstacles. However, MY speed is only part of the solution for a relaxed drive. I still have to deal with all of the huge tailgating trucks trying to push me more quickly down a road on which they can’t pass. At times, I have pulled to the side to let them pass.

    I agree with the limiting of truck access on this road. And, I agree with the enforcement of speed limits on 151; however, that enforcement is only as effective as the police are efficient in catching speeders. I think the police would have to be staked out on that road most of the time to truly control speeds.

    Therefore, I’m in favor of reducing the total speed limit to 45 mph on 151. At the very least, those who insist on speeding will be starting at a lower limit. Also, if 151 is less attractive as a timesaving alternative, more drivers may choose Route 29. I, for one resident, would appreciate a bit more breathing space on Route 151.

    Thank you,

    Kathryn Fleisher

  5. It’s about time!
    As Nellysford residents we have been cognizant of the safety issues on this heavily traveled road for many years. I’ve spoken to our representatives about the increasing volume of traffic we’ve witnessed in just the last 10 years. It saddens us to see VDOT waiting until these tradgedies occur before “hopefully” taking action. I know individuals are purposely driving this route at 45mph to make a statement but I see this as potentially creating an even more dangerous environment. Vehicles will attempt to pass, especially in those open stretches, there-by increasing the potential fatalities for all of us. It was encouraging to hear Watkins Abbot, who spoke at the Nelson Center last week, taking a proactive position in doing something now rather than later. His challenger, Connie Brennan, shares this concern and will also work for us if elected.
    We would love to join forces with our community to help make these roads safer.
    Respectively submitted,
    Jim and Joan Mummery

  6. Thank for your comment Jim & Joan,

    We agree the intentional driving of 45 MPH on 151 is a bad idea. Though a considered idea early on it was not implemented and will not be implemented or sanctioned by the official Project 151 organization. While we cannot control what an individual may do on their own, again we oppose this activity. As you say it encourages more dangerous behavior, not less.

    I spoke personally for about 30 minutes with Mr. Abbitt this past Friday and will soon be sharing some of his ideas on what can be done short term for improved safety on 151. Ms. Brennan has also said she would support similar measures. Like you I was pleased to see them both taking interest.

    It appears a dual speed limit idea is gaining strength. One speed for trucks another for passenger cars. Obviously the slower for trucks. Though we feel this is a good first step, a permanent ban on through trucks is the only long term solution and the only measure we would support long term.

    Aside from the terrible loss of life, it is totally destroying the rural character of the Rockfish Valley.

    Thank you so much for you interest and support!

    Tommy
    P-151

  7. Split speed bad idea. It will just encourage more dangerous passing.

  8. Split speed limit… Has it worked in other areas? Ask a truck driver. 55 on Garth Road for cars and 45 for trucks. The cars now tailgate the trucks and try to pass where normally would not even think about passing. Enforce the speed limit for one. How about we try driving 55 instead of 60>65 on the way to wherever. It is not only trucks. Many times turning to family members homes from 151, cars are the ones leaving skid marks.

    Center turn lanes can solve some of the problems but this morning I had a guy in a Volvo think I was not going fast enough and while I was getting into the right turn lane at Chapel Hollow he used the center lane to pass.

  9. Addressing the complexity of I-64 118 interchange at US-29 is a good priority here – it’s a mess in all directions. But isn’t the larger issue that commercial vehicles are forced up and over Afton Mountain on I-64 which can’t really handle that volume, onto our local roads which aren’t designed for it? The longer term solution is to push for a more attractive way to get from I-81 to southbound US-29. Why not a multi-lane limited access connector over the mountains near Lexington. The money for it? Check with Senator Byrd of WV. He seems to come up with plenty of money for his projects.

  10. As JT was writing the above response I was photographing the wreck on 151 and 613 while I was waiting to turn onto 613 to go home. A fire truck, police cars and ambulances were there to offer assistance after Richard Hart, driving a VW, turned left onto 151 from 613. He and his family, from Newport News, were hit by a Ford pickup truck going south on 151. Their car was totalled.
    That blind intersection is in a 35 mile-an-hour zone. Today’s wreck is the perfect example of what I was speaking to on September 21st on this same page.

  11. Has Project 151.org collected exact statistics about the causes of each of the reported accidents (fatal and non-fatal) that have happened over the past 10+ years? Individual reports and fears are important to consider but we need data that would show whether there are specific events that are actually resulting in accidents. My question is triggered by reading the list of potential safety improvements that I am asked to rate on your recent postcard. The treatment for any condition should be related to the diagnosis.

    We live in a very beautiful rural area with hills and blind curves. These conditions will always pose risks to drivers. We want to make things safer but there will always be compromises just by our choice of where we live. Under these circumstances, what is most important is that we look very objectively at the apparent causation of these accidents.

  12. Thank you for your efforts.
    I believe that another area of concern is the intersection of 151 & 635. This is the location of the Rockfish Collection Center for waste and recycling. The amount of traffic has increased considerably at that intersection. My fear is that it is a matter of time before there is a significant mishap at that location.
    Thanks again!
    Lynn

  13. I would LOVE that this be printed NOW for all to read!!!

    For those of you who attended Wednesday’s meeting and talked of doing 45 mph on 151, I urge you to NOT do that!!! There are THOUSANDS of people who drive that road who have NO IDEA what you are doing, OTHER THAN CAUSING a tie up in the FLOW of traffic! Their NATURAL urge will be to pass you as soon as possible! Do you not see that that kind of driving will actually BRING ON more accidents??? You will ACTUALLY be CAUSING that which you are trying to prevent!!!

    Lives may be saved if you would PLEASE print this letter, or at least communicate what I am saying! Tommy Harvery alluded to this at the end of the meeting, but I don’t know how many people were understanding what he had said.l

    Sincerely,

    Robert

  14. I attended the 151 meeting tonight at RVCC. I think Tommy Stafford did an excellent job communicating the goals of Project 151 and giving those in attendance an opportunity to voice their opinions.

  15. After thinking about the subject a little more, I would like to add a few thoughts.

    If you want to SAFELY help make our 151 drive better for all; when you drive through the areas we know require a slower speed, drive 45 mph. Sunrise Dr. requires a slow down. From the Liberty station down to route 6, going south on 151, requires a slow down. Rhodes Farm road requires a slow down. We don’t have to wait for anyone or anything to here and now makes these moves of caution! But, I say again, please DO NOT drive 45 mph in a 55mph zone for the sake of making a point!!! Your “point” will NOT be understood by the majority of people on the highway, and you will be, for no apparent reason be impeding the natural flow of traffic!!! You will annoy people, including myself, who are quite comfortable with SAFELY OBEYING the law!

    I hope this is understandable. Let us not CAUSE an accident out there by NEEDLESSLY creating a slowdown!

    Again, SINCERELY,

    Robert

  16. Thank you Tommy Stafford for an organized and thoughtful presentation. I believe in the power of the people and I expect the citizens of this area will bring about change. It is refreshing to know that there are still those who will not accept the bureaucratic position of “it cannot be done.”

  17. Someone at the meeting suggested getting Rt. 151 designated as a “scenic highway.” I think this is a good idea. For an example of York County’s efforts, see http://www.yorkcounty.gov/coadmin/agenda_material/2006/030706/item5a.pdf

  18. I hope you will post my second email sent before the meeting and the comments about not doing 45 mph on 151. It speaks directly to that issue and why I do 45 on many sections of 151 that are posted 55mph. I am not making a point … I am simply driving a speed that feels safe to me given the road complications in those areas. I want options should someone cross into my lane! My vote is that the speed limit on 151 be reduced to 45 mph.

    Thanks.

  19. I think that Project 151 is first of all, giving credit only to themselves about this issue. You are being very close minded and not listening to what we have to say and only agreeing with the people who are repeating what you are saying. This is simply a media stunt for Project 151 and the Staffords. Please do the right thing and don’t shine the light all on you. Plus some of your ideas don’t make any sense. Look at the information we are presenting to you. Especially from the people who really matter and those are the people who have been here for more than 10 years because we know the roads better than you, we grew up on them! Get a life Project 151 Get a life…..

  20. Jim,

    We appreciate your comment, and we allow everyone’s opinion here, (unless they are vulgar or disrespectful some have been blocked because of that in the past) hence flawed thinking in your accusations. As for your believing that Project 151 is a media stunt for The Stafford’s wrong again Jim. If you will note in the post: “VDOT is listening to the concerns of Project 151.org and those of the 300-400 people who attended the recent public meeting held by our organization in early October. Make no mistake, the letters written from residents of Nelson directly to Governor Kaine in Richmond have made a great impact on action taking place,” Stafford continues.”

    Project 151 believes that how long someone has lived anywhere has nothing to do with safety issues on a highway. Everyone, those born and raised here, and those who may have moved here yesterday, have the same rights to have their opinions heard. For the record, P-151 has had at least 25-30 people who are at least 60+ years in age either in person or by mail express concerns over the highway situation. All of them were born here.

    The post also notes it’s members of the community and their efforts that are making this possible, P-151 is simply representing them and passing on survey information, etc. to VDOT so we can all find a workable solution. VDOT is working with everyone and genuinely trying to find a workable solution. Like anything it takes time, but they are listening and eager to remedy the problems.

    We can say without the efforts of the public at large and because of the media attention drawn by the establishment of P-151, it is doubtful the prompt action we see being taken now would have happened.

    P-151

  21. Here’s how to really piss us off, we deserve it since we’ve killed so many people on 151:

    Go 45 MPH, except in the passing zones, bump it up to 55 real quick so we can’t pass you.

    And make sure you go 45 down hill so we heat up our brakes. We really don’t need those silly brakes, do we, I mean, we just keep on trucking no matter whats in the way. HONK HONK

    Has a big truck (one which requires a CDL, not a smaller truck like the one that killed Cavedo and family) ever even killed anyone on 151?

  22. Get the trucks off the road they are smashing everything into oblivion!

  23. Obviously, you are not very safety minded “Super trucker” or you would not be tail gating and needing to heat up your brakes.

    Ever heard of the “SMITH System”

    http://www.smith-system.com/

    It’s all about controlling the space around your vehicle. As a “Professional” driver you need to allow for the mistakes of the non-professionals on the road, we all share.

    If you don’t like the hazardous conditions on a narrow, 2 lane, curvy, blind intersection, road like 151, it’s best to stay safe and travel a road better designed for your vehicle.

    Thank you for pointing out why large heavy vehicles, that are hard to stop, have no place on a road like 151.

    Your driving attitude is going to kill someone, please consider it, and save a life, maybe your own!

    I’m a 2 million mile trucker, no accidents.

  24. Dear “not so” Super Trucker,
    The answer is absolutely yes … a semi hit a car head on on a 4th of July some years ago. The car burst into flames killing several including, I think, two children in the back seat. I find your remarks a bit offensive and the kind that will send folks who are sitting on the fence about trucks and this highway (like me), over the edge. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and hope you decide not to hurt or intimidate any of us.

  25. Does anyone remember that 2 tractor trailers lost control, crossed lanes and rolled down embankments off 151 within the past year. Both occurred at very busy places on the highway, one at the intersection of 151 and 250 where cars line up waiting to turn onto 250 and one near the Church of the Blue Ridge school . It is only by the grace of God that no cars happened to be in the other lane at that particular moment. And does anyone know how many times the fence at the intersection of 151 and 250 has been replaced after vehicles going too fast to stop have plowed across 250 and through the fence. Again, it is a miracle that, to my knowledge, no cars on 250 have been hit by these out of control vehicles. When I was learning to drive, my father warned me..if you are going 50 mph when you get to the intersection you are not going to be able to stop. He was right!

  26. I am relieved to see that the speed limit has been lowered to 45 along the section of 151 near where I live, by Ashley’s market, but it isn’t clear by the signs where the 45 speed limit is in effect. I think that a few more signs would be helpful. Before the curve heading south before Ashley’s and also before the road that leads to the transfer station would be helpful. I am also curious about the sign that says no through truck traffic on Route 6. Isn’t that where most of the tractor trailers cut over? If not, where do they come from, because there still seem to be a lot of them?

  27. Thanks for commenting to P-151 EE. There have been several people who have commented about the placement of the new signs and the need for more of them to clearly indicate where the actual zone is. I am passing your remarks along to the Amherst office of VDOT as well.

    As for Route 6 Truck restrictions, Old Route 6 that actually runs through Afton to 250 is the only stretch under current law that restricts through trucks. Though P-151 has and continues to work for a complete restriction of through trucks, (those not involved in local commerce or deliveries) current law allows those types of truck along Route 250 to 151 to 6 E to U.S. 29, which is why you still see over 500 a day using 151 as a cut through.

    P-151

  28. This section of road is one of the most dangerous I have ever had to use and it is made so mainly by truck drivers. This highway was designed for 40,000 pound, 40 foot (trailers), 84″ wide trucks. Now they are running 120,000 pound, 53 foot (trailer), 102″ wide trucks. Guess what? They don’t fit. They are too large, too heavy, and too aggressively driven. There is absolutely no margin for error, and their driving is anything but error-free.

    Since these highways were designed for much smaller vehicles, and given that standard engineering practice has long been to design bridges for twice the maximum expected load, I have to wonder what load limits exist for the existing bridges on these two highways. For some reason, all those signs seem to have been removed.

    If it could be shown that these trucks are too heavy for the road, they could be banned. Has anyone checked into this?

  29. I checked into this.

    In case anyone is interested, the bridge on Rte 6 over the North Fork of the Rockfish River is rated at an absolute maximum permissible load level of 97020 pounds. (44.1 metric tons)

    120,000-pound trucks are therefore too heavy to use this route. Nelson County, it’s time to press VDOT to close this route to trucks heaver than the lowest rated bridge load on the entire route.

    There is a weigh station on Rte 151 – it’s time to open it and start sending overweight trucks right back to I-64 and US 29, where they belong. Better yet, make them drop their loads and come back to get them in trucks that don’t exceed the road’s limits. That should get their attention.

    Has anyone else noticed that national level carriers don’t send trucks down this road? It’s only the mom and pop shops and independents doing this, and they are not going to get much backing from the majors in any counter action they may attempt.

    This fact might provide an effective legal tactic to apply direct pressure against these reckless operators. Any truck driver / company involved in an accident should be sued without exception; the fact that all major carriers decline to use this route can be cited as evidence of negligence. (failure to observe professional norms of conduct)

    In any case, no opportunity to sue a trucker involved in any incident on this route should be passed up. If enough judgments pile up their own insurance carriers will keep the off the road.

    The best way to get these guys off the road is to make it so expensive that they do the safe thing and stick to the main roads. Turning them around at the weigh station would be a good start.

    (I haven’t gotten to all the bridges yet, just that one. There are probably more that can’t handle large trucks. 🙂 )

  30. I travel to the Nelson dump on Rockfish School Lane from Afton every week-end. I am so disgusted to see people in the NEW 45 mph area still exceeding the speed limit – where is the enforcement???? I saw one State Police car a month or so ago with radar and nothing since. I don’t believe the lower speed is the answer since it’s not enforced.


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