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Accidents on Route 288 prompt traffic study

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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WTVR) -- A tractor trailer crash early Thursday morning shut down parts of Rt. 288 and Hull Street Road, but it’s not the first time that interchange has seen bad wrecks.

Now, some drivers are questioning the safety of the interchange.

Several severe accidents near the interchange over the past couple of years have some drivers concerned about how traffic flows through that part of Chesterfield.

“People go like 50-60  all the time, and I think it's pretty dangerous,” Bahshad Taghizadeh, who lives in Chesterfield, said.

“I take Rt. 360 everyday, and most of the time I get caught up in 5 o'clock traffic and it's hectic,” Chesterfield's Frank Boyd said.

But drivers are not the only ones concerned about traffic in this area.  Chesterfield County asked VDOT to take a look at the Rt. 288 and Hull Street Road corridor to see where safety improvements can be made. 

VDOT is currently studying the corridor on Rt. 360 from the 288 interchange east down to Warboro Rd.

“This study is very important to Chesterfield County, and this is their top priority.  It's something that the state looking at to try to address existing safety and capacity needs in the area,” Paul Agnello, VDOT’s Transportation Planner in this area, said.

One problem VDOT has to deal with is the sheer volume of cars that come through the area.

On Rt. 288 between Hull and the Powhite Parkway, 54,000 cars use that stretch of road daily.  By VDOT's count, about 82,000 vehicles take Rt. 360 west of the 288 interchange each day.

“The county in particular is concerned about traffic movements during the PM peak hour,” Agnello said.

“Impossible isn't the word,” Frank Boyd said about Rt. 360 during rush hour.  “It only takes me 15 minutes to get home, but when traffic here it takes me at least 30-45 minutes. “

VDOT's study is only in the preliminary stages. They have been analyzing traffic patterns and recording video feeds to see what needs to be improved.

But officials don't expect to finish the analysis until next year; then they will move to looking at solutions.

Some local drivers already have a few.

“Probably more lanes might help,” Linda Bell, who lives near Rt. 360, said.

“Maybe if the exits were farther apart, instead of being so close together,” Taghizadeh said.

“Since VDOT is looking into changing it, I'm very interested to see what kinds of plans they got for that,” Boyd said.

Here's a map of the study from VDOT: