HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Drivers will have a slower commute in Henrico County as crews reduce the speed limits on dozens of roads. The county’s Public Works Department is lowering the speed limits on more than 100 roads.
Terell Hughes, the department’s director, said crews lowered the speed limits on 36 streets last year. Now, they’re preparing to reduce the speed limits on 67 more.
“If you’re driving at heightened speeds faster than those posted speed limits, you’re already at a disadvantage to make safe maneuvers,” he said.
Newly changed signs will have orange flags and a placard toward the bottom that reads, “New Regulation,” so drivers can be aware.
The department identified some roads where the speed limit will be lowered, while others were requested to be changed. Crews have already reduced the speed limit on Woodman Road from 45 miles per hour to 35. In the coming months, crews will work certain stretches of Osbourne Turnpike, Laburnum Avenue, Dumbarton Road, North Gayton Road and Pump Road.
The effort started in the summer of 2021, after the county saw a spike in severe crashes since the pandemic, Hughes said. The goal is to make the roads safer for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.
Earlier this month, bicyclists Carla “Jonah” Holland and Natalie Rainer were hit by an impaired driver along Osbourne Turnpike. Holland was killed and Rainer was seriously hurt and sent to the hospital.
In February 2021, Henrico County police captain Donald Lambert, Jr., was killed in a hit-and-run while running along Greenwood Road.
Hughes said that since the pandemic, they’ve been seeing more speeding, as well as impaired and distracted driving. “We’re hoping to prevent instances where people aren’t coming home,” he said.
In 2021, Henrico County Police recorded 76 crashes involving pedestrians — 11 of these resulted in death. There were 23 crashes involving bicyclists, with one resulting in death.
So far this year, the DMV database reports 45 pedestrian-involved crashes in Henrico County.
“It happens too often, really, where a pedestrian is hit or a cyclist is hit. We feel that every time that happens,” Hughes said.
Crews also plan to install sidewalks and crosswalks in areas where they’re most needed.
“If that improves safety even for one person — it’s well worth the effort,” Hughes added.