Safety upgrades added at intersection

Published 1:37 pm Friday, January 22, 2021

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What some say is a dangerous intersection in Lunenburg County has now gotten the attention of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

Following a study, advanced intersection warning signs were implemented Friday, Jan. 15, at the intersection of South Hill Road (Route 138) and Dundas Road/Afton Grove Road (Route 137/609).

According to Communications Manager Bethanie Glover with VDOT Richmond District, a review of the intersection was completed late last year.

Glover said the study called for advanced intersection warning signs on South Hill Road (Route 138).

In September, a former Lunenburg County woman Kelsey Daniel, who now resides in Roanoke, started a petition hoping VDOT would recognize the need for improved signs and warning signals at an intersection she said has claimed many lives.

“For years, there have been horrific and fatal accidents at that intersection, and we have lost too many loved ones to this intersection due to poor warning signage of the upcoming intersection,” Daniel said. “I created this petition to gain community support for the plan to request additional warning signs leading up to that intersection in hopes that it will reduce the number of severe accidents happening at that site.”

Daniel’s petition gained close to 900 signatures.

According to Glover, there have been nine recorded crashes at this intersection since 2012, four of which occurred in the past two years.

Glover said of the four accidents, one crash was a rear end collision, one involved an animal strike, and two were angular. The two angle crashes occurred in 2020 and resulted in a fatality in July and a serious injury in August.

Glover said, in both angle crash records, the driver from the Dundas Road approach disregarded the stop sign. In July’s crash record, the deceased driver was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle.

Since the August crash, VDOT has installed vertical retroreflective strips on the stop signposts at the intersection to increase visibility.

Last fall’s study was not the first of the intersection.

“VDOT also conducted a safety study for this intersection in 2017, and stop bars were installed on the minor street approaches as a result,” Glover said.

Glover said the 2020 study revealed proper signage and pavement markings are present at the intersection, and they are in good condition.

In addition, at the approach of Dundas Road (Route 137), the advanced intersection warning sign and the oversized 48×48 stop sign are large enough to attract the attention of motorists.