VDOT bans walkers, slow vehicles from Route 37

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to impose restrictions that prohibit pedestrians, bicycles, mopeds and slow-moving vehicles from Va 37 in Frederick County.

VDOT crews intend to post signs announcing the restrictions on the route, also known as the Winchester Western Bypass, beginning Monday, weather permitting. The action is aimed at improving safety on the route.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board passed a resolution last month prohibiting slow-moving vehicles from using the bypass. The restrictions, similar to those imposed on Interstate 81, covers “pedestrians, persons riding bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, mopeds, animal-driven vehicles, self-propelled machinery or equipment and animals led, ridden or driven on the hoof.”

Such vehicles and pedestrian traffic on Va 37 – a highway with a 65-mph speed limit – has increased greatly in recent years, VDOT officials say. The increase in this traffic creates hazards. State police have investigated 251 reportable crashes on the 15-mile primary highway between 2012 and 2016, according to information from VDOT. Police investigated two crashes in 2013 that involved fatalities.

VDOT studied the area at the request of state police and the Frederick County Board of Supervisors and concluded that the restriction is appropriate to minimizing the risk of crashes and saving lives. State police can begin enforcing the restriction once crews install the signs. A violation of the class 4 misdemeanor can result in a fine of up to $250.