A Year After Tragic Death, Morrisonville Residents Continue Push for Road Safety

Morrisonville residents are continuing their push for improved pedestrian and motorist safety along Morrisonville Road, following the death of one of their neighbors in January.

A group of village residents met on Dec. 9 with VDOT engineers and maintenance employees, members of the county government staff, the offices of Supervisors Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin) and Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) and Supervisor-elect Caleb A. Kershner (R), who will replace Higgins starting Jan. 1. The meeting yielded commitments from all groups to continue looking for ways to make the road safer.

Residents said VDOT agreed to look at adding signage to deter speeders and warn drivers about the road’s sharp turns, and to determine whether it can obtain easements to clear brush around those blind turns. VDOT is expected to conduct additional traffic studies along the road once construction begins on the Rt. 9/287 roundabout—which is expected to happen in summer 2022, according to the county website. The residents also agreed to provide VDOT with additional information regarding their concerns and suggested solutions.

When VDOT performed studies in the village earlier this year, it found that the traffic volume along the road was lower than the threshold required to convert the Morrisonville Road/Purcellville Road intersection into a three-way stop. But many residents said the intersection needs to be changed because of the speed of traffic passing through, not because of the volume of the traffic.

Within the next three months, the county’s Department of Transportation & Capital Infrastructure will also study the road andpropose new traffic warning signs and identify locations for pole-mounted flashing speed signs. The department also will determine whether through trucks should be restricted on Morrisonville Road.

Village residents have also asked the Sheriff’s Office to step up enforcement of the speed limit on the road.

According to the VDOT traffic study, the average speed of Morrisonville Road traffic is 44 mph as it approaches the Purcellville Road intersection from the north, where the speed limit is 35 mph. The average speed of traffic on Morrisonville Road as it approaches Purcellville Road from the south is 40 mph, where the speed limit is 25 mph.

The push for safety improvements to Morrisonville Road began in early 2019, following the Jan. 4 death of Lauren McDarby, who was struck and killed by an alleged drunken driver while she was on an early-morning walk along the road.

Within weeks of McDarby’s death,village residents came together to form the Morrisonville Community Alliance to address safety concerns along the rural road.

pszabo@loudounnow.com

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