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Sheriff says his office working to improve safety on road

By Sally Voth svoth@nvdaily.com

Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron said his agency has been working to improve safety on Browntown Road.

McEathron said some of the safety measures had been started before a local resident met with county and state officials to address the issue.

Last month, Wells Bill, who lives on Rocky Lane (Va. 607), which is off of Browntown Road (Va. 649), met with Virginia Department of Transportation Edinburg Residency Administrator Cliff Balderson and another VDOT official, as well as with Warren County Administrator Doug Stanley, Deputy County Administrator Bob Childress and South River District Supervisor Linda Glavis to discuss what he sees as safety hazards.

Bill -- who, along with his wife, was the victim of a hit-and-run crash last year -- is campaigning for the speed on Browntown Road from Hickory Hill Road (Va. 650) to the Freedom Club about 3.5 miles south to be lowered from 45 mph to 35 mph, and for the speed limit to be enforced.

Additionally, Bill would like the site distance from the turn to be improved through brush clearing -- a task he has taken on himself.

The 45-mph stretch of the road has 83 driveways and has been the scene of numerous wrecks, he has said.

"It's the most curvy [part of the road]," he said. "There are more blind curves on that road than you can shake a stick at. All we're asking is to reduce the limit to what's already in existence from the first part to the second part. We all know that putting a sign up [isn't enough]. You have got to take it farther than that."

McEathron said Friday afternoon he was aware of Bill's meeting with county and state staff.

"I provided the county administration with the amount of accidents we've had on that road as of that date," he said.

There were about a dozen between January and Bill's meeting, according to the sheriff.

"Obviously, when you have a string of accidents, you wonder why," McEathron said. "I know that's a bad place where he's talking about. Sight distances are bad on these country roads."

He said some of the crashes were due to speed, while others were the result of driver inattention or animals. McEathron said the speed limit had been reduced to 45 mph from 55 mph not that long ago.

Prior to Bill's raising of the issue, McEathron had told county administrators that the sheriff's office would try to make a useful effort to improve safety on Browntown Road, he said.

"It's a very difficult road to work radar on," he said. "You definitely don't want to be part of the problem by pulling out and trying to stop cars on a windy road."

The sheriff's office's actions have included having a marked vehicle out on Browntown Road and setting up a sign that registers drivers' speeds.

"I know probably over the last week or so, two weeks, that deputies have issued quite a few summonses out there for speeding," McEathron said.

Getting the speed limit changed is something Bill would have to take up with VDOT, according to the sheriff.

"I told him we will do our part and we will work the area when we can," he said. "It's a big county, so we have to be everywhere."

Balderson couldn't be reached for comment Friday afternoon.


I was hoping this would go away.

While we're lowering the speed limit to 30mph, let's also poison all the deer/bear so they don't run out into traffic. Just to be on the safe side, let's also line the road with 10 foot fences just to get any that sneak into the county. Also, kill every shrub/plant/tree within 30 feet of either side of the highway. Finally, at all intersections, a driver shall stop and wait for a crossing guard to escort them across safely. Also, the Sheriff's office shall purchase and fly no less than 10 UAV's to constantly monitor and track the movements of all drivers on the road for safety.

Here's what I say to all the newcomers in Browntown: I don't like the desert, so I don't live in Arizona. If you don't like the road, don't live on it.

People do speed on that road. I am asuming it's an issue with drivers being too familiar with the turns and therefore more carefree perhaps thoughless. The times I've been up there drivers tend to gain on you real quick.

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