September 11, 2013
Traffic along the Pantops portion of the Route 250 Bypass in Albemarle County can be a frustration for drivers, and Albemarle County police are hoping a tactic that's worked in another area can help calm things down.
"Sometimes, you have people who drive a little crazy between Shadwell and the 64 interchange," said Adrienne Stronge, who commutes along the busy stretch daily with her husband.
In the past few weeks, Albemarle County Police have posted signs reading "High Crash Area" along the bypass.
"The message boards are strategically placed throughout the county depending if it is a high-crash zone," police spokeswoman Carter Johnson said. "An area where we see an increase in traffic, we'll place the message boards there."
The signs appeared on Route 29 just south of Hollymead during the month of June.
Police measured crash statistics before and after the signs were posted. In the two weeks before the signs went up, there were 12 crashes along that stretch of Route 29. Once drivers saw the signs, there were only two crashes over the next two weeks.
"We do believe it changes driver behavior," Johnson said. "It makes people slow down, think twice, be a little more cautious."
And that's why police brought the signs to Pantops, a place where daily commuters say drivers can be aggressive.
"There seems to be a lot of distracted drivers within that stretch," Stronge said. "Rush might play into it, too. If somebody is slow, then they can't really wait to get around them, so you see a lot of people getting cut off."
Police have since removed the message boards from the Pantops area and relocated them to another road to warn drivers of traffic changes ahead of upcoming events.
"For us, this is just a really great opportunity just to get the message out, so that people who are traveling on the roads in Albemarle County know that traffic safety is a priority for us," Johnson said.