VDOT to invest $190,000 at dangerous intersection in Amherst County

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AMHERST Co., Va. (WDBJ7) -- Safety improvements are coming to what some believe is a dangerous intersection in our region.

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to invest $190,000 at the intersection of U.S. Route 29 and Virginia 151 in Amherst County.

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to invest $190,000 at the intersection of U.S. Route 29 and Virginia 151 in Amherst County.

The intersection has seen its share of crashes. Twenty-three since January of 2016 to be exact.

One was fatal.

On September 25th, 2016, Cynthia Martin, a mother-of-three, was killed while trying to cross the intersection in Amherst County.

Her daughter, Megan Campbell remembers it all too well. "It wasn't from distracted driving, it wasn't from her not being a capable driver, it was not being able to see the traffic coming and someone waving them across," she said.

It was a moments decision with a life-long impact. "We had a baby without her, we've had graduations, we're going to have graduations without her, proms, weddings," Campbell lamented.

But now, improvements are in the works.

The Virginia Department of Transportation approved the grant to install new traffic flashers.

While there are currently flashing lights at the intersection now, the new lights will be different. "What these new dynamic lights will do is they'll actually alert motorist to people entering the intersection," said Paul Jones with the Lynchburg VDOT district.

Jones says the lights are a new technology that will have sensors to alert oncoming traffic when a car is present.

So, why not a stop light? "Stop lights are good but stop lights inherently have some of their own problems. It's not unusual at a stop light to have rear-end collisions. People don't always stop at stop lights either," explained Jones.

She says this is the next step for this intersection as they continue to do their safety reviews. "We've not stopped. This is not the end all but we need to investigate this and how people respond," Jones said.

Campbell believes it's a step in the right direction. "This has cost us so much like emotionally, mentally, physically, financially, like so for this flasher to be put in, that could someone else from having to go through everything we have to go through."

VDOT is working on the equipment for the upgrades now. They will begin the installation in Spring of 2018.