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VDOT launches study to reduce crashes on two high-trafficked roads in Springfield

A new study seeks to alleviate congestion and safety issues along sections of Franconia Road and Commerce Street (via VDOT)

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is asking for public input on how to reduce congestion and the number of crashes on two half-mile sections of road in Springfield.

A new survey is open through June 15, asking residents about their traveling habits and safety concerns along Franconia Road between Backlick Road and Loisdale Road. The survey also focuses on Commerce Street between Amherst Avenue and Franconia Road.

The survey marks the beginning of a STARS (Strategically Targeted Affordable Roadway Solutions) study that will help develop “proposed improvements that localities can pursue for funding,” a press release says.

Those two sections of roads, particularly Franconia Road, are of concern because they often have traffic congestion due to the nearby I-95 interchange. There’s also a high number of crashes, according to VDOT.

That half-mile section of Franconia Road averages about 69,000 vehicles a day and has had 162 crashes between January 2015 and October 2022, per a VDOT presentation. That includes at least one fatal crash and several that resulted in severe injuries.

The portion of Commerce Street in the study has much less volume, with only about 19,000 vehicles every day. But there have been even more crashes along the road during that same time period.

A large number of the 171 crashes have resulted in property damage only, but several did lead to severe injury.

VDOT is looking into a number of improvements along those roads focused on safety, the presentation notes.

That includes “innovative intersections” that have different shapes or traffic flow patterns. It could also mean adding Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons, high-visibility crosswalks and improved bicycle facilities, including better bicycle lane transitions and pavement markings.

What exactly will be done will, at least partially, depend on the results of the public survey, VDOT said.

In the questionnaire, respondents are asked to rank their top concerns, with traffic congestion, pedestrian safety, public transit access, and speeding among the options listed. They are also asked when they typically traveled along those roads, by what method of transportation, and when they typically experience congestion.

The survey “will be used to help develop potential safety and operational alternatives that will be evaluated and presented during the second round of public involvement scheduled for this winter,” the project website reads.

The study is set to be completed in spring 2024. No construction timeline has been set as of yet, per the press release.

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