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Intersection causes discussion

At a Tuesday afternoon meeting of the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors, a representative from VDOT said the intersection of Crafton’s Gate and Kings Highways could see the installation of dynamic flashing lights in the future.

According to VDOT representative Kevin Wright, “I talked to the traffic engineers recently and they were completing that study. They gave us the initial recommendation of replacing the overhead flashing lights, which will take those poles out of the median and the guardrail that is associated with those.”

Wright said the initial suggestion of the traffic engineers is to utilize dynamic flashing lights.

“Instead of it being overhead like a traffic signal . . . these would be on the sides of the road before you get to the intersection,” Wright said.

In addition, Wright said the dynamic lights would only flash if a car were coming out of Highway 47 or sitting in the median. The warning could read “Watch for Entering Vehicles.”

“One of the things that we found since we put up a lot of flashing lights was that anything that flashes all the time really doesn’t get anybody’s attention,” said Wright. “They get used to it and they don’t really notice anything different.”

The dynamic flashing lights would only activate when another vehicle is pulling out.

Wright said the turning lanes would ultimately remain, because the offset turn lanes provide better sight for drivers.

“What we’ve done is recommended something that will be money well spent no matter what ultimately happens to the intersection,” Wright said.

However, a roadway safety analysis of the intersection will be needed, according to Wright.

Drakes Branch Board of Supervisor, Garland “Butch” Hamlett questioned the possibly of the proposed recommendation not working. “To me, it looks like a stoplight would be the cheapest and the most recognizable feature on that road than trying to go back and re-engineer traffic,” said Hamlett.

Wright said when he last spoke with the traffic engineers they were focusing on accumulating additional data. “A traffic signal would definitely be the least expensive way to fix it, but we can only do that where the warrants are met” said Wright. “

Wright said he was not sure what the final recommendation would ultimately be. “There are people that just rely on the traffic signal and pull out and wind up in an angle collision and get severely hurt as well,” Wright said. “Traffic signals do not stop every accident.”