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Bollards, All-Day Restrictions Come to Crash-Prone Intersection

For years the intersection of Old Dominion Drive and Little Falls Road has been the scene of numerous crashes.

Now, after a push for traffic signals and minor efforts to make it safer, the intersection in the Rock Spring neighborhood has undergone its biggest change yet.

Instead of the rush hour restrictions that were put in place last year — making it right-turn-only for Little Falls Road traffic during certain hours — a recently-constructed row of bollards now ensures that those driving on Little Falls can only turn right at all times.

The bollards also prevent left turns from Old Dominion Drive.

“On June 10, the Virginia Department of Transportation installed a small center island of along the centerline of Old Dominion Drive to make Little Falls Road right-in/right-out at Old Dominion Drive,” Arlington County Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien tells ARLnow. “Additional markings and signage have been installed to help guide right-turning drivers. We anticipate making small changes, such as to the center median material, in the coming months.”

“These short-term changes were made because a crash trend has been identified at this location, including a high number of angle collisions involving drivers either turning left or continuing through the intersection from Little Falls Road,” O’Brien continued.

There were 13 crashes at the intersection in 2018, 14 crashes in 2019, 12 crashes in 2020 and 4 crashes so far in 2021, according to Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

O’Brien also wrote in an email that the county and VDOT will be studying the possibility of lowering the speed limit on Old Dominion Drive or installing a traffic signal at the problematic intersection.

To help Arlington County and the Virginia Department of Transportation determine a long term solution, The County will also collect additional speed and volume data in this area. This data will help VDOT and County staff evaluate:

  • If a traffic signal is warranted. For the traffic signal, the County will work with VDOT to determine if the intersection meets the State Signal Justification requirement.
  • If a speed limit reduction is warranted. For the speed evaluation, the County will work with VDOT to determine whether a posted speed limit reduction is warranted.

Old Dominion Drive was formerly a streetcar line. It was converted into a road in the 1930s.

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