Fort Hunt Residents Want Help for Paul Spring Intersection
Officials say there is no need for traffic light, no money for turn lane.
Al Horne has lived in Hollin Hills since 1964, and the increasingly heavy traffic on Fort Hunt Road makes venturing out from his Rebecca Drive home more harrowing every year.
Horne is one of a group of local residents who want improvements — preferably a traffic light — at the intersection of Fort Hunt and Paul Spring roads. “It becomes increasingly hard to enter Fort Hunt Road from Paul Spring, which is is essentially the only way onto Paul Spring from this community,” he said. “The traffic is moving faster every year, it seems to me.”
Paul Spring Road forms a three-way intersection with Fort Hunt Road between Belle View Boulevard and Sherwood Hall Lane, the only intersections featuring traffic lights on the stretch. There is no turn lane in any direction, sight lines are limited, and frustrated drivers turning right off of Paul Spring Road regularly break the law by using the road shoulder to make an illegal turn.
A Virginia Department of Transportation crash analysis found 14 crashes occurred there between 2006 and 2010. According to the Fairfax County Police Department, there were six reported crashes at the intersection between 2010 and February of this year, all rear-end incidents. Some Hollin Hall residents, however, say there have been five crashes there during the past year.
Paul Spring Road resident Irwin Goodwin said he had witnessed several crashes at the intersection and drives carefully when he approaches it.
“This has been going on for a long time, and it’s just getting worse because of what’s happening at Fort Belvoir and Route 1, and many drivers are taking Fort Hunt Road to get to Route 1,” he said.
Gail Weigl, who lives near the intersection, on Bedford Lane, wants to see a traffic light installed.
“I’m very concerned about that intersection,” she said. “We’ve had very serious accidents there. ... It’s just a terrible intersection.”
On Dec. 8, local residents held a meeting with Sen. Toddy Puller's office and a representative from VDOT, but it’s doubtful changes to the intersection will be coming anytime soon.
Both a 2010 VDOT analysis and a recent study found the intersection did not warrant a traffic light, as most crashes involved northbound vehicles turning left off of Fort Hunt Road onto Paul Spring Road. VDOT noted that a northbound left turn lane may help the situation, but that funding would need to be prioritized through the county.
VDOT did agree to move the stop bar and crosswalk on Paul Spring Road closer to the intersection to improve the sight line.
An aide for Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland declined to comment on the intersection, saying the state government handles roads.
State Del. Scott Surovell (D-44th District) said there was “absolutely no money to do anything in terms of roads in this state until we do something about the revenue situation.”
“Fairfax County’s secondary road allocation in the year I was elected was $28 million, and the year after I was elected it was 1,800 bucks,” Surovell said. “And now it’s zero, and its going to stay zero unless either the money fairy comes or taxes are increased.”
If money does become available, he said, here’s a chance a turn lane could be installed.
State Sen. Toddy Puller (D-36th District) said the intersection was not ideal but saw no chance for a light to be installed because it’s not a four-way intersection.
“Until we have more money for transportation, not much is going to happen at all on transportation in our area,” she said.
Horne, the Hollin Hills resident, has another idea.
“I think that given the state of the state and county budgets and resistance of the police, a reasonable alternative to putting a traffic light there would be to put up a speed gun and a sign telling people how fast they’re going,” he said. “Because that would make an impact.”
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