TROY, Va. (WRIC) — A VDOT study of safety improvements revealed that over the last six years there have been a total of 3 deaths and 563 crashes on Afton Mountain.
The latest crash involved a tractor-trailer and a charter bus with more than 20 passengers early Sunday morning.
8News spoke with Larry Devault, Deputy Chief with Crozet Volunteer Fire Department, who said his crews usually respond to more than a dozen crashes a month on the mountain.
“Afton Mountain is a tough road,” Devault said. “The temperature in the chief’s car when I was going up there went down from 35 to 28 within about six miles, so we had some freezing fog and everything just iced up.”
According to Virginia State Police, heavy fog and icy conditions led caused tractor-trailer carrying U.S. mail to overturn on I-64.
Devault told 8News both drivers had to be cut out of their vehicles and they had to pry windows open to get all 25 passengers out.
“They were requesting manpower and equipment,” Devault said.
While the posted speed limit is 65 mph, Devault told 8News that doesn’t stop drivers from speeding.
“People drive too fast on Afton Mountain, both trucks and cars alike and we spend a good portion of our time out there,” Devault said.
According to the VDOT study, people are traveling faster than they should in foggy weather and not leaving enough stopping distance. The study said there have been 360 crashes westbound and 203 eastbound for a total of 563 crashes.
“The fog and weather conditions do account for a percentage of the crashes out there but a higher percentage from heavy traffic and differentiation of speed going up the mountain,” said Joel Denunzio, from VDOT.
As a result of the study, VDOT is considering adding more electric message boards along the mountain and possibly lowering the speed limit during inclement weather.