Neighbors urge safety on Springfield Road, but changes doubtful

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Police say the driver who hit and killed a grieving grandmother, will not face charges. The deadly accident happened Saturday on Springfield Road, near Jones Road.

74-year-old Ruth Bellio parked on the side of the road. She was there to lay flowers at the spot where her 25-year-old granddaughter died a week earlier. Neighbors are urging for the road to be redesigned, but VDOT say that's unlikely.

Neighbors say it's because of the sudden curves on Springfield Road. The cars that come around the bend are very close. There is no shoulder, and therefore not a lot of room for error.

"If you're not paying attention, you're going over that hill. You're going. There's nothing to stop you," said Mark Boggs, who lives near Springfield Road.

The curve near Mark's house, is just one example of a road that has several...including the spot where two members of the same family died just a week apart. That's why neighbors are calling for a re-design of Springfield Road.

"My experience has been, nothing's done until there's loss of life," said Ron Melancon.

For two years, Ron Melancon's web site, "Dangerous Springfield", has tried to draw attention to the issue. It's received more than 600 page views, but that doesn't appear to be enough.

"It's been a nightmare. It's all about money," said Ron.

Indeed, VDOT is in the midst of an unprecedented budget shortfall hundreds of millions of dollars in size.

"There is very little funding out there," said Dawn Eischen, VDOT.

Even if the money was there - it's doubtful a project here would get underway.

"It's really difficult for us to put a project to something that's more driver error," said Eischen.

That's the key issue, according to other neighbors. They urge drivers never to park on the side of Springfield Road, and remember that the speed limit tops out at 45 miles per hour...two, of the key factors in the deadly crashes.

"I think people need to obey the speed. They do not obey the speed," local resident Patricia Keel said.

VDOT's money crunch goes for the next six years, so it appears unlikely in the near future that Springfield Road will see the redesign that neighbors are requesting. 

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