Residents say Mechanicsville Turnpike intersection still dangerous where pedestrian was killed

Residents say Mechanicsville Turnpike intersection still dangerous where pedestrian was killed

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - Residents said a Mechanicsville Turnpike intersection is still dangerous after it was redesigned last year to make it safer.

Billy Blowers was pumping gas at the Shell Gas Station on Mechanicsville Turnpike when 65-year-old Dinese Smith was hit by a SUV while crossing the four-lane highway.

"When they first put it in we would hear car crashes all the time, tires screeching, people braking." Blowers said.

“It’s kind of a wide intersection. There are a lot of lanes and it’s changed from what people are use to,” Virginia Department of Transportation Communication Manager Bob Spieldenner said.

VDOT redesigned the intersection last October hoping to make it safer for drivers, but many said it just made things worse.

“You think you have the green light, but you really don’t because the light that’s sitting closer to you is really red,” resident Debra Borkey said.

Borkey has lived in the area for almost 16 years and she said the sound of metal crashing is all too familiar.

“It was OK for awhile but then traffic started getting confusing right where the light is. When you go out of here and turn left,” Borkey said.

In 2017, there were 20 crashes at the intersection, so far in 2018, there have been 13.

Residents said the traffic lights and turning lanes are causing most of the confusion.

“With the light being so close to you, you want to look at the other light, the straight pole going straight through. It’s causing people to follow that light to turn,” Borkey said.

Others said the lack of crosswalks make it dangerous.

“We have a high school on (Route) 360 and kids cross all the time to McDonald’s and grab breakfast. It’s pretty unsafe with no crosswalk” Blowers said.

VDOT officials said they conducted a study prior to putting in the intersection.

“We did a safety study in that area and we did not see a lot of pedestrian activity in the corridor, so we did not erect any crosswalks or signage,” Spieldenner said.

Residents said drivers always need to be alert when going through the intersection.

“You have to be careful and watch the other guy because they might be more confused than you are,” Borkey said.

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