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Study will look for solutions to Lynchburg Expressway safety flaws

Published On: Nov 11 2013 04:30:38 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 11 2013 05:45:53 PM EST

City engineers are working with VDOT to do a safety audit on the expressway.


A busy highway in our region is going under the microscope.

Engineers with the city of Lynchburg and the Virginia Department of Transportation are preparing to do a safety audit on the Lynchburg Expressway.

The study will focus on a stretch between River Ridge Mall (Exit 8) and downtown (Exit 1).  It was built in stages during the 1950's, when highway engineering varied greatly from today's standards.

Many of the exit ramps on the lower end of the expressway are short and some have no room for drivers to accelerate and merge into traffic.

Police say that design flaw leads to numerous accidents every year.

"A couple of the exits have no acceleration lane, such as Kemper Street and Candlers Mountain Road," said Officer Ronnie Sitler with the Lynchburg Police Department.  "We have more crashes at those locations than in other places where there are acceleration lanes."

Another flaw is bridge design.  Some have a low clearance, making it difficult for large trucks to pass underneath.

The study that's being done by the city and VDOT will identify problem areas.  Engineers will look for short-term solutions that can increase safety, without costing a lot of money.

The project itself will cost $350,000 and will take about a year to complete.  It's being paid for with money from the state government.