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Getting There: Spotsy stop sign hit 14 times

MORE: Read more Spotsylvania County news

This is probably the last thing teenage drivers want to hear about, but a driving course in Dulles this weekend just might be something they would appreciate down the road.

It’s called “Tire Rack Street Survival,” a national program that’s been around more than 10 years. The biggest benefit from this course is that it will give young drivers “hands-on” tools most of us have to learn by trial and error.

Unfortunately, some young drivers don’t get much of a chance to learn—fatal car crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 20-year-old drivers.

The course costs $75 and runs from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. You can find more details at streetsur vival.org.

Dear Scott: The intersection of Jim Morris Road/Mills Drive/Thornton Rolling Road has a flashing signal in addition to four stop signs—two on Jim Morris Road and two on Thornton Rolling Road.

My question pertains to the stop sign in the middle at Jim Morris. Every few days, the stop sign is hit and damaged, or disappears altogether.

It is then replaced, usually within two to three days.

How much money is being wasted replacing this sign?

Since January, I have noted at least six replacements.

Since there is a flashing signal, why is this stop sign necessary, especially since large vehicles obviously cannot clear that intersection with the sign there?

—Susan Rolka, Spotsylvania

This looks like one of those damned if you do, damned if you don’t situations.

The sign is there as a legitimate safety precaution, but the only place it can stand is a precarious one.

Clearly, though, something is wrong here.

Since January, the Virginia Department of Transportation has replaced 13 stop signs at that Spotsylvania intersection.

That was the most recent count VDOT had.

But now you can make that 14, because last Thursday there was no sign there.

For the record, it costs $150 each time a new sign has to be erected there, according to VDOT’s Kelly Hannon.

“The very reason this sign is hit so frequently is the reason it is needed for safety reasons,” said Hannon. “Drivers on Jim Morris Road approaching this intersection and flashing signal are coming around a curve. We need to get a driver’s attention—fast—that they need to come to a full and complete stop.”

She added that the stop sign is in that spot to meet VDOT’s standards.

In this case, it seems better to hit a sign than to run into the intersection, where a crash probably would be deadly.

This situation also points out that drivers simply need to pay more attention.

Yes, it does look like it would be tough to maneuver a big vehicle around the sign from the U.S. 17 bypass. But it doesn’t seem impossible that a trained driver could make it without obliterating the sign.

And if drivers on Jim Morris Road are hitting the signs, they may want to consider using a taxi service.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

sshenk@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/newsdesk/2013/04/08/getting-there-spotsy-stop-sign-hit-14-times/