Amish safety signs discussed

Published 11:03 am Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Supervisors discussed recent concerns about the safety of Amish buggies traveling on the highway following a proposal to add additional safety signs.

“I’m still getting people who are concerned about the signs on the highway for the Amish buggies,” Red House/Cullen Supervisor Nancy Carwile said at a June meeting of the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors.

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Resident Engineer Scot Shippee said the organization has looked at different options. However, a study must be done so the signs are not overused.

“I’ve actually got a bunch of signs on order now,” Shippee said. “There’s a pretty long wait time on them. Signs should be in towards the end of July. All these signs have to be handmade, so they’re not readily available off the shelf.”

On Saturday, July 8, following the discussion from the June Board of Supervisors meeting, Virginia State Police responded to a crash on Route 47 in the county involving a horse and buggy, a car and a truck.

According to Virginia State Police Spokesperson Susan Rowland, “a horse and buggy was traveling in the eastbound land of Route 47 when a Ford F-150 pickup truck moved to pass the buggy in the westbound land. As the pickup truck began passing the buggy, a Ford Taurus attempted (a) move between the pickup and the buggy, clipping both vehicles in the process and running the buggy off the right side of the road.”

Shippee said during the meeting as soon as the signs come in, VDOT will work to get some of them installed. He noted it’s hard to study where the signs are most needed without making the community feel isolated and picking out a certain address.

“What we’re trying to do is look for gathering points,” Shippee said. He said locations such as schools and churches would be the main focus, as they surround roads with higher volumes of traffic.

He said roads would be taken on a case-by-case basis to see how many vehicles are going through there.

“Generally, if you’re under 250 vehicles a day you anticipate that it’s primarily local traffic through there, so that’s one of the things we’re looking at as well,” Shippee said. “There’s really no good formula for putting these up…my biggest concern was I don’t want to put so many of them up that you just become blind to them.”

Carwile said some of the main concerns she hears about roadways are for children walking along the road and going to the schools.

Shippee said if there is an area of concentration with a lot of traffic, VDOT would take a look at the location and put signs up.