How do you fix issues with Route 307? VDOT has a plan

Published 7:03 am Tuesday, June 6, 2023

RICE – The first incident happened at 10:51 a.m., on Wednesday, May 31. Two cars collided at the intersection of Route 460 and Route 307 in Rice. A couple days later, it happened again, with another two-car accident at the same intersection. 

This time, traffic on Route 460 westbound was detoured for several hours, due to an incident just after 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 3. Six people in the two vehicles were injured, with one trapped in a car.  

Both Rice and Farmville fire departments were originally called out, along with Prince Edward Rescue. Emergency officials said they put in a mutual aid call, to get more ambulances on scene. That brought in Meherrin Fire and Rescue. The Prince Edward County Sheriff’s Office also had deputies on scene, along with the Virginia State Police. 

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Officials detoured Route 460 for about two hours, until just after 9 p.m. The six patients were all taken to Centra Southside Hospital in Farmville for treatment. One was later airlifted to another hospital. 

Both of these situations are unfortunately familiar scenes for anyone who travels through that intersection. Officials from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) say they understand the concern and are working to fix the problem. 

VDOT takes a look at Route 307

VDOT conducted a crash study at this intersection from November 2020 to June 2022. During this period there were no fatalities, one severe injury, nine visible injuries, no nonvisible injuries and 18 cases of property damage involving a total of 28 reported crashes. Since this study is based on reported crashes, this means that more may have taken place but VDOT has no record of the other ones. 

The main problem with this intersection has been numerous rear-end crashes happening on Route 307 as drivers approach Route 460 West, as the two roads come together. Part of that’s been addressed, but in doing so, VDOT accidentally created another issue. 

“We did a prior project there several years ago, which helped resolve rear-end crashes that we were seeing on the Route 307 approach to Route 460 West,” said Len Stevens. He works as communications director for VDOT’s Lynchburg district, which includes Prince Edward County. 

While trying to alleviate the rear-end crashes, VDOT ended up causing a new issue. This new design created the problem of drivers not realizing their lane turns into a dedicated right-turn lane at the intersection. This caused roadway departures and angle crashes, exchanging one problem for another. 

Stevens said that VDOT is working on that second problem now. Work crews have altered the lane layout on Route 460 West. When the project is finished, all approaching traffic in the westbound lanes will shift into a single-through lane before the intersection. Drivers who are looking to turn right onto Route 307 will have to make an intentional lane change to get into the dedicated right-turn lane. 

“This new layout should alleviate potential confusion about how the lanes are intended to be used and hopefully reduce the crash frequency there,” said Stevens.