Board of Supervisors Learns Rt. 460 Speed Limit Will Decrease
By Sarah Steele Wilson
Sep 14, 2012, 11:07
The Prince George County Board of Supervisors has long been concerned about what it considers to be the unsafe driving conditions and a high number of crashes on the portion of U.S. Rt. 460 that runs through the county.
In the past, the board has pushed for a reduction of the speed limit from 55 mph to 45 mph. Previous V-DOT studies have indicated that such a reduction was not warranted, a decision a recently completed study changed.
At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting, Regional Traffic Engineer, revealed that the speed limit on portions of the road currently posted at 55 mph will be reduced to 50 mph.
The most recently completed study indicated that there is wide spread disregard of the 55 mph speed limit amongst the road’s motorists. It also indicated that while the overall crash rate is lower than it is on comparable roads, more of the crashes result in injuries and fatalities.
Totten said that many of the issues stem from drivers encroaching onto the lanes for traffic moving in the opposite direction and left turning vehicles.
In addition to reducing the speed limit, which Totten said should be done in the next few weeks after consultation with local police and Virginia State Police, V-DOT also offered a number of other suggestions to curb the instance of serious crashes.
Creating a mandate for the installation of auxiliary left and right turn lanes in the Six Year Improvement Plan, devising an access management ordinance that would control access points to the road, removing of vegetation from the edges of the roadway and installing paved shoulders are recommended actions.
Totten said that improvements to paving and several turning points have already been made to the road and said that V-DOT will continue to work on those efforts. He also said that the speed limit will be revisited in 12 to 18 months to see if a further reduction in speed is warranted.
State Senator Frank M. Ruff, Jr., supported the boards request for a study. On Tuesday, board member Alan Carmichael said that while he was grateful to the 5 mph reduction, he and Ruff would continue to push for a 45 mph speed limit.
“It’s a dangerous highway in Prince George and we’ve lost a lot of people just traveling through our county and we’ve lost a lot of residents,” he said. “Anything we can do to bring that number down to nil would be a great step.”
Totten agreed with the need to act.
“There is a need to do something to try to ameliorate these substantial crashes.”
The board also approved a special exception requested by developer James R. Jones to construct 72 multiple family dwellings on land off Jefferson Park Rd. and Brandywine Rd.
In addition to nine proffers, several of which would help the county deal with any infrastructure demands, or demands on the school system, that might result from the development, Jones promised on Tuesday that the units would offer high quality housing that would, in turn, attract retailers to the area.
“It attracts better people, and that’s what we want to do,” he said.
The board voted unanimously to approve the special exception.
“Every I have contacted or been contacted by unanimously thinks this is a very good move in that section of Prince George,” Supervisor Bill Gandel said before casting his vote.
In May, Prince George County resident and Prince George High School graduate Cpt. Jesse Ozbat died while serving in Afghanistan. In August, the board honored his sacrifice and discussed the possibility of submitting a request to V-DOT to name the the roundabout at the entrance to Fort Lee where Allin Rd., Jefferson Park Rd. and Bull Hill Rd. meet in honor of Ozbat.
The board removed the item from their agenda after Supervisor Bill Roberston suggested naming the roundabout in honor of all veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and installing a plaque with the names of all Prince George County residents killed during the conflicts. He said he knew of at least one other man who was killed in Iraq.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Jesse Ozbat’s father, Aaron Ozbat, spoke before the board regarding the possibility of naming the traffic circle after his son. He said he had mixed feelings about the discussion at the last board meeting.
“Jesse, Cpt. Ozbat, was a selfless person and soldier,” he said. “He would always put others above himself.”
Aaron Ozbat said that by trying to recognize everyone, people forget the individual.
“We recognize everyone and remember no one,” he said. “...Our country is at war, yet many are oblivious to what is going on.”
He said that the other young man from Prince George County who died in Iraq was Marine Pfc. Michael Cary, who, he said, drowned in the Euphrates River while trying to diffuse a bomb.
Ozbat urged everyone to remember his son and others like him.
“He gave up his freedom so that you and I can enjoy ours,” he said.
Gandel asked that the board discuss the name of the circle during a work session before the board’s next meeting on Sept. 25.