Within the last two weeks, there have been two accidents on U.S. Route 13, one of them involving fatalities. The first was located near mile post 74.78 at Capeville Crossroad, and occurred on Saturday afternoon about 1:15. Four persons were killed and the traffic had to be rerouted for close to five hours. The Second was November 16th at the Cape Charles Stop light at about 4:30 in the afternoon. The first accident was determined to be driver error—the Southbound Tractor Trailer attempted to avoid the crash by swerving to the left, however the crossing vehicle, continued through the intersection and collided.
More worrisome, if this had occurred during heavy traffic weekends, such Memorial Day or Labor Day, it could have been a major disaster. The tractor trailer, after the collision, came to rest in the north bound lane. Head on collisions would have been very likely.
Note: Reader submitted information that there were actually three accidents in this time period. Two occurred on the same day at the Cape Charles light, just hours apart.
For those that use 13 each day to travel to work or school, witnessing dangerous events is common. We see cars and semis traveling at high rates of speed, trying to make time and taking chances. Studies show that the average speed of cars traveling into the Food Lion/Stone Road section are close to 60mph going south, but over 60 mph heading North. With buses stopping, and cars turning, those speeds seem excessive.
A five-year study by VDOT shows that Twenty-six (26) crashes occurred within this quarter-mile segment. From the report, “Sixty (60) percent of the crashes were intersection related with 30 percent angle crashes and 30 percent rear end crashes. Fifteen (15) percent were deer crashes. The one pedestrian crash resulted in fatality. Half of the crashes resulted in injuries and half in property damage only. Four (4) of the crashes occurred at the shopping center driveway all with injuries. Slightly less than half of the crashes occurred during nighttime conditions, and 60 percent occurred in the northbound direction.”
Key safety concerns continue to be buses that stop unexpectedly at the railroad crossing that is adjacent to the track signal. Some of the rear end crashes were associated with buses stopping at the tracks. Other concerns are nighttime crashes.
Note: Citizens have voiced concerns that the new Royal Farms near the Kiptopeke Inn lacks a thorough and up to date traffic safety analysis. Previous reports show concern for a lack of positive guidance for drivers, as well as a lack of recovery space for vehicles to stay on the road or recover from driving on the road.
While we understand that the Northampton Board of Supervisors is concerned about traffic safety, consensus has been that VDOT is not going to do anything until more people are killed. For citizens, how many of us must die before the State does something? While many travelers treat our 13 as a high-speed thoroughfare from New Jersey or Pennsylvania to the Outer Banks, an alternative to Interstate 95, it is in fact a local roadway, with houses and driveways and slow turnoffs.
For residents of the Shore, waiting for the body count to rise high enough before VDOT reconciles the competing aspects of U.S. 13’s personality, is unacceptable.