LINKS
2015-05-13 / News

Rear-enders: The county’s most crash-prone intersections

By Donna Burch
CONTRIBUTING WRITER


Last year, 50 crashes occurred at Hull Street and Old Hundred roads, giving the intersection the dubious distinction as the county’s most dangerous. Ash Daniel/Chesterfield Observer Last year, 50 crashes occurred at Hull Street and Old Hundred roads, giving the intersection the dubious distinction as the county’s most dangerous. Ash Daniel/Chesterfield Observer The county’s busiest intersection also holds the distinction of being its most crash-prone.

During 2014, 50 crashes occurred at the intersection of Hull Street and Old Hundred roads, putting it back at the top of the county’s list of intersections with the most crashes.

Hull Street Road/Old Hundred Road also topped the list in 2010, 2011 and 2012 but was briefly pushed to the No. 2 position in 2013 by the intersection of Midlothian Turnpike and Woolridge Road.

It reclaimed the top spot in 2014, far surpassing the No. 2 slot jointly held by Hull Street and Courthouse roads and Hull Street and Genito roads with 34 crashes.

There’s no secret why so many crashes occur at Hull and Old Hundred: The intersection is situated at the region’s busiest section of road, along western Hull just past state Route 288. Considering 35 million vehicles pass through the intersection each year, 50 crashes is a pretty benign number.

Still, the Chesterfield Transportation Department (CDOT) is studying ways to increase the efficiency of the Hull Street Road corridor in and around that particular intersection. The intersection faces many challenges due to its proximity to the Route 288 interchange and several busy shopping centers. Traffic backups are the norm during rush hours and on weekends.

Most of the crashes that occur there are fender benders, caused by driver inattention. The Chesterfield Police Department has increased traffic enforcement in the area, but even that is challenging because the intersection is so large and wide.

The county transportation study should be completed this summer and will include a list of recommended improvements to enhance traffic flow.

“We are thinking it’s going to be in the hundreds of millions to address the issues out there,” said Jesse Smith, director of the Chesterfield Transportation Department.

Not surprisingly, Hull Street Road intersections dominate the 2014 crash list, including Hull Street Road/Courthouse Road and Hull Street Road/Genito Road. Most were fender benders caused by driver inattention.

Midlothian Turnpike/Woolridge Road fell to the No. 3 spot, with crashes decreasing from 47 in 2013 to 30 in 2014.

That number may continue to fall thanks to an upcoming road project. Next month, construction crews will begin widening Midlothian Turnpike from four to six lanes between Woolridge Road and Alverser Drive.

The project also will extend the merge lane from Woolridge onto Midlothian Turnpike east.

“That [merge] lane runs out fairly quickly,” Smith said. “That issue will get resolved as part of this widening.”

(For more details on the project, visit route 60widening.com.)

Hundred Road (Route 10)/Old Stage Road took the No. 4 spot – the first of only four intersections in the south end of the county to appear on the list. This intersection experiences heavy traffic due to its proximity to an interchange with Interstate 95. The Virginia Department of Transportation completed a widening project last September in an effort to relieve traffic congestion there.

Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1)/West Hundred Road (Route 10) came in at No. 5, but actually experienced a noticeable decrease in crashes during 2014 – down to 25 from 37 the previous year.

There are plans to widen Route 10 between Route 1 and Interstate 95 with construction expected to begin within the next two to three years.

“The issue there is you have a lot of accesses and driveways in that section,” Smith explained. “You have a lot of businesses, breaks in the median [with drivers making left turns] and a lot of turning maneuvers in that short corridor. Anytime you have a lot of turns like that, you will have a lot of rear-end [collisions].”

In two years, Route 10 also is expected to be widened between Bermuda Triangle Road and Meadowville Road to relieve traffic congestion. The project may be completed in stages due to state funding issues.

Overall, the total number of crashes in the county was down 1 percent during 2014 when compared to the previous year. Fatal crashes decreased 21 percent, and injuries as a result of crashes decreased by 8 percent.

The majority of crashes in the county are fender benders attributed to driver inattention.

Drivers are reminded to “minimize the distractions,” said Capt. Brad Badgerow with the Chesterfield Police Department’s Uniform Operations Bureau.

Fiddling with the radio, applying makeup, eating or scolding the kids can all distract one’s attention from the roadway.

So can modern technology.

“When you look down at your phone to read something or type something in, the amount of real estate you cover in that time is just incredible,” Badgerow warned.

Texting while driving is illegal in Virginia.

But making a phone call can be just as dangerous.

“The call can wait; the text can wait,” Badgerow said. “And if it can’t, then just pull over.”

Return to top