With little cost but much engineering, the Virginia Department of Transportation implemented changes to a section of Route 28, resulting in shorter rush hour travel times and a crash reduction of 31 percent.
This big-bang-for-low-buck fix was implemented where Route 28, or Sully Road, meets Interstate 66, north of Centreville. The intersection with Braddock and Walney Roads, just north of I-66, was a major source of traffic congestion. In the morning, northbound congestion was so severe that traffic exiting I-66 to Route 28 lined up for nearly a mile on the shoulder of the freeway, creating a safety concern. Southbound delays in the afternoon were just as bad. And with an average of 52 crashes per year, this intersection ranked among the most crash-prone in Virginia.
With more and more traffic on Route 28, VDOT worked with local residents and elected officials to craft improvements. At the Walney and Braddock intersection, east-west through traffic and three of four left turns were eliminated. In addition, some left turns were removed from the I-66 interchange signals. The changes allowed the signals to give more green time to through traffic on Route 28. Implementation cost less than $200,000.
After the changes were made in May 2007, travel time during peak periods improved by about four minutes per vehicle. “It’s a phenomenal access management improvement,” said VDOT traffic engineer Randy Dittberner. “Four minutes is a huge savings to motorists. Normally we have to build an interchange to get that kind of benefit.”
Even as travel times dropped, the amount of traffic on Route 28 went up. The intersections serve about 1,000 more vehicles per hour during peak periods, increasing capacity by up to 30 percent. The extra capacity helps Route 28 more effectively serve its evolving role as a limited-access link between I-66 and Route 7.
The first nine months of crash data show a 31 percent reduction in collisions in the area, even with the rise in number and speed of vehicles.
Before the plan was implemented, VDOT held a series of public meetings, hearing all sides before making the changes. Some residents were concerned about changes in access and traffic patterns in their neighborhoods. VDOT worked with the community to modify the plan, including improvements to traffic control in the neighborhoods on either side of Route 28 to minimize residents’ inconvenience.
The local community observed benefits as well, because more traffic on Route 28 means less traffic cutting through neighborhoods. “We understand that it’s harder to get around locally, but we think the overwhelming improvements to traffic flow and safety are worth the tradeoff,” Dittberner said.
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.
Page last modified: Oct. 17, 2012