The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Getting There: Battling backups in North Stafford
BY SCOTT SHENK
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
The number of unbuckled people killed in car crashes has dropped quite a bit in recent years.
But plenty who don’t buckle up still die on the roads—306 in Virginia last year.
And if you don’t think it can happen to you, here’s something to think about: A quick check of local crashes shows that, since July, there have been at least five deadly crashes in which the victims weren’t wearing a seat belt.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Seat belts aren’t perfect, but at least a few of those above-mentioned victims would have lived had they only buckled up.
The Department of Motor Vehicles says you are 40 percent less likely to die in a crash if you are wearing a seat belt.
State law says you have to buckle up, but a better argument for wearing a seat belt is that it might save your life.
Dear Scott: The lights at Telegraph Road and the Quantico Corporate Center are backing up traffic (at least from about 3:45 to 4:10 p.m.) that seems to be getting progressively worse.
I am requesting that the timing at the lights be looked at and see if they can be either timed together or in the afternoons they be set so that U.S. 1 traffic has the priority.
The issue seems to be fairly new with how far they are backing up traffic.
—Carlos Hathcock, Stafford
Part of the issue could be a recent change in the traffic-signal timing patterns that make the U.S. 1 lights stay red a little longer in the Boswell’s Corner area.
The timing was changed for the Telegraph Road intersection so traffic from each side road has a dedicated green light, allowing drivers to make safer left turns onto U.S. 1 without facing oncoming traffic, according to VDOT’s Kelly Hannon, who said the changes were prompted by requests from “motorists and others.”
She said VDOT will have signal technicians check out the area and make sure U.S. 1 gets as much time as possible during peak traffic periods.
Even before the change, this section of U.S. 1 suffered heavy traffic problems, caused mostly by rush hour.
But congestion also crops up in the area when there are traffic problems on Interstate 95.
Traffic in the area also has increased as a result of BRAC. The base realignment and closure program brought thousands of federal jobs to the area and along with it more traffic. Many work at the Russell–Knox Building, as well as the growing Quantico Corporate Center.
There are plans aimed at improving traffic in the Boswell’s Corner area.
The Federal Highway Administration is heading up two proposals, one for the Telegraph Road and U.S. 1 intersection and another targeting U.S. 1 from Boswell’s to Triangle.
Some $4 million is set aside for improvements to the intersection, which could be done in 2013.
The U.S. 1 proposal is only preliminary and has no money for construction.
If anything gets done on U.S. 1, those changes likely would mirror the work done in Triangle, which included widening the highway to six lanes.
Federal officials said at a May public meeting about the projects that they planned to hold another gathering this month.
The latest word is that a meeting likely will be held in early October.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436