A number of my Gainesville and Haymarket constituents have reached out to me about the safety problems at the Old Carolina Road / Somerset Crossing Drive intersection. My team and I followed up with VDOT and they've outlined some short-term improvements they'll be able to make before conducting a proper traffic study this fall after the start of the new school year so their traffic count is more in line with normal conditions compared to the last year.
VDOT officials tell me they went out to monitor traffic flow and observed a lot of people hitting the brakes at the last moment instead of easing into the stop at the intersection. So, they will install larger stop signs and consider adding reflective tape to the posts so they're easier to see. They'll also look at adding painted "STOP" lettering on the pavement after Somerset Crossing is repaved later this year.
VDOT is also going to add a portable messaging board - like the ones we see along Manassas Drive here in the Manassas/Manassas Park area and like y'all sometimes see at the corner of Route 55 and U.S. 15 -- alerting drivers of the stop sign intersection on the westbound direction of Somerset Crossing.
They'll also check if the trees on the eastern approaches toward the intersection inside the public right-of-way are blocking anyone's vision. If so, VDOT will either trim the branches or remove them to increase visibility.
Lastly, VDOT will ask Prince William Police to increase their presence there to prevent people from running through the stop signs.
Once all of that is done and they have a proper traffic count in the fall, elected officials, county staffers and VDOT staffers will be able to consider what long-term changes we can finance to make it safer.
Speaking just for myself, my personal preference for the first way to improve safety is for installing innovative intersection designs. They're never cheap but they work and you can often install them within the existing right-of-way.
Anyway, I'll keep y'all posted with new information as I get it and hopefully we'll be able to make that intersection safer for everyone.