VDOT throws ‘kitchen sink’ at Route 60 problems in Buckingham

Published 4:33 am Thursday, May 16, 2024

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The numbers keep going up. Year to year, no matter what traffic study gets done, the amount of accidents at the intersection of Route 60 and Route 632 in Buckingham County continues to rise. The latest example involved a Longwood student who had to be airlifted to get her injuries treated. 

“Since I’ve been on the board of supervisors the last two years, this is probably the most serious thing I’ve talked about,” said Cameron Gilliam. He represents District 2 on Buckingham County’s Board of Supervisors. 

But the problem, as Gilliam sees it, is that not enough has been done to stop the accidents. In 2022, the board first got the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to do a study. That year, the number of crashes at the intersection went up. The board asked for another review of the site in 2023 and VDOT put up a sign leading to the intersection. Even so, the number of crashes went up again. 

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On Monday, May 13, the majority of the supervisors’ meeting was focused on addressing the problems with that intersection, with VDOT district engineer Scott Frederick on hand to answer questions and explain what’s being done. 

When VDOT put up that sign last year, Frederick said, they thought it would have an impact on reducing crashes. And, he said, it looks like as long as people paid attention to the sign, they were ok. One of the crashes last year was a resident who admitted to being distracted. Another was a teen driver, not focused on the road. 

Making changes on Route 60

Supervisors see the numbers keep going up, however. And they’re tired of asking for more to be done. 

“I’ve asked you four or five times to address this,” Gilliam told Frederick on Monday. “I told you somebody was gonna get killed or somebody was gonna get sued. What happens when you’re coming from Longwood to Northern Virginia, GPS sends them that way (to the Route 60 intersection) because it’s closer, cutting through the backroads than it is going to Route 15.” 

He pointed out that Longwood student got t-boned and it was such a bad wreck that EMS contacted VDOT, asking for something to be done. Gilliam also pointed out that residents can be across that intersection and not even notice until it’s too late. 

“My mother and her friend from Yorktown were coming from Farmville about six weeks ago,” Gilliam said. “They shot right across the road before they realized.” 

Frederick said VDOT hasn’t ignored the intersection, but their solutions in times past just simply haven’t worked. 

“It has been brought up for the last couple years and I appreciate the fact that you guys are engaged,” Frederick said about the Route 60 intersection. “The fire department as well has contacted me about it. And because of that, it has been studied closely.” 

What’s the solution? 

So with that being said, how do you go about fixing the problem? VDOT may not have an automatic answer, Frederick said, but the group plans to essentially ‘try everything’. 

First step will be to obtain easements and clear the right shoulder on both approaches to Route 60. The goal here, Frederick said, is for people to never have to worry about tree branches blocking the view again. 

Step two, there will be stop signs at all approaches and they will be oversize, a 48 x 48 design. Those signs will also be moved closer to the shoulder of Route 632. 

Step three, VDOT will add transverse rumble strips on each approach. 

“That’s what I’d call throwing the kitchen sink at it,” Frederick said, adding that work will immediately begin, in terms of obtaining easements. 

Supervisors said they just hope this approach works. 

“I pray that this helps somebody and saves a life,” Gilliam said.