Dangerous Stretch of Route 53
August 1, 2013
The Virginia Department of Transportation is working to improve a couple dangerous curves along Route 53, near Monticello. The work began this week and is expected to last until the end of September or early October.
Crews are removing trees and banks along two blind turns and adding a four-foot shoulder to the inside of the curve to give drivers more wiggle room and sight distance.
"There are fairly sharp curves through there," said Mauris Mackenzie, VDOT's Construction Engineer. "And the slopes that are there are fairly steep."
Kacie Elliott knows how dangerous Route 53 can be. She has lived along here for ten years.
"It's hectic," Elliott said. "Definitely during the winter. We've had a lot of accidents."
Elliott's sister was even involved in an accident.
"She hit the brakes and somebody behind her hit her and it was just a big pileup mess," Elliott said.
The VDOT project is focused on a two-mile stretch of Route 53, from Route 20 to Kenwood Farm Lane, just east of Monticello. During the past year, there have been 13 accidents along that stretch, according to Albemarle County Police.
Nearly 9,000 cars pass along that stretch of Route 53 each day, but VDOT officials say there should not be any significant traffic delays during the construction of the shoulder.
"The work is planned to be done at night so the impacts will be minimal," Mackenzie said.
Elliott has been waiting for these improvements for a long time.
"We have kids in the front yards," she said. "We have little dogs running around and it's just an accident waiting to happen."
Fixing the two blind curves is expected to cost $831,000, according to VDOT. Officials admit that it is a short-term solution, but a longer-term solution, like re-routing Route 53 is not in the budget right now.