17 crashes in 3 years: Neighbors want changes along ‘scary’ Virginia Beach road

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Joel Conti says the intersection near his home, Indian River Road and Danali Lane, is particularly scary with just inches separating deep ditches from the roadway.

“Something has got to be done to reduce this speed for us to get out of our neighborhood without getting injured [or] our kids getting injured,” said Conti.

Since moving to the area near Stumpy Lake in 2013, Conti estimates he’s seen 40 cars either crash or veer into the ditches.

The father of young children has documented the damages – day and night – hoping the city will make changes.

The most recent crash happened June 30, according to police records, when a car crashed into a fence at the front of the River Lake neighborhood.

Conti says his kids’ bus stop is just feet away.

“My kids would have been standing right there,” he said. “Somebody would have gotten killed and maybe then someone would have done something, but until then it seems like it’s not an issue. It’s no concern because it’s just a fence.”

He says in the days following, two cars crashed into ditches but records obtained by 10 On Your Side show no reports were taken for those incidents.

10 On Your Side took Conti’s concerns to the city and uncovered 17 reported crashes over the last three years. The accidents were reported, according to city data, near the intersection of Indian River and Danali Lane and Indian River and Archdale Drive.

“It’s an indicator of a trend,” said Valerie Henchel, traffic engineer. “A severe problem would be five per year, but it’s enough for us to take a closer look.”

In 2014, the city reduced the speed limit in the area from 45 to 35 miles per hour. Still, Henchel says a recent traffic study shows the average speed is 47 miles per hour. That’s 12 miles per hour above the limit.

“That’s unacceptable,” said Conti. “Lower the speed limit. Make it 25 so they are really doing 37. That would make it much safer.”

A $67 million plan to reroute Indian River Road through a tree line parallel to the current road is already in the works.

Design and site acquisition is currently underway. The city says construction will start in the summer of 2021 and wrap up in the summer of 2024.

“It’s going to be fabulous once that happens, but until then they got to do something for us to make it safe for us to get in and out,” said Conti. “They approved the neighborhood, so make it safe for us.”

Henchel says part of the solution is enforcement.

10 On Your Side watched on Wednesday as two traffic officers pulled over a man for driving 49 in the 35 miles per hour zone.

Henchel says the city will now look into putting additional signage around the curves to warn drivers of the sharp turns.

“It would be chevrons, the arrows that help you guide around the curve,” she said. “That’s what we plan to do.”

Conti questions if the signs will work or if the city is kicking the can down the road.

“Do the speed limit. It’ll make you safe … and it’ll keep my neighborhood safe.”

10 On Your Side also reached out to Virginia Beach City Public Schools about potentially moving the bus stop off Indian River Road to Danali Lane, which is a dead-end street.

School board policy prohibits “the creation of a bus stop that would require a school bus to back up,” according to spokeswoman Lauren Nolasco.

Still, she says, “Transportation services will send supervisors out to the site to re-examine the route.”

Stay with WAVY.com for updates on this story.

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