The stretch of Interstate 66 in Virginia where a crash claimed the life of one person and sent several others to the hospital on Saturday is the second-most crash prone stretch of the highway, according to the WTOP Traffic Center incident database.
The roughly 2 1/2 miles between the Fairfax County Parkway and Route 28 has seen 444 reported crashes near or between the two interchanges on I-66 since the beginning of last year. Of those crashes, 283 were reported to have occurred in the westbound lanes while 161 were eastbound.
Only the area between Nutley Street and the Capital Beltway saw more reported incidents with 585 crashes reported in that area in the same time period.
WTOP Traffic Reporter Dave Dildine said that not only are crashes here frequent, the layout of the road means the effect they have on traffic is sizable.
“We often expect to see at least a couple wrecks per day in the westbound lanes as drivers merging from Fairfax County Parkway weave with drivers shifting right to exit at Route 28,” Dildine said.
“Jersey walls for the ongoing express lanes project are blocking much of the right shoulder on this portion of the highway, so when the crashes happen here, they immediately block lanes. Usually, they happen on the right side.”
In 2016, the Virginia Department of Transportation installed lane control signs to manage the flow of traffic and direct drivers to use the right westbound lane beyond Fairfax County Parkway as an exit-only lane onto Route 28 during the morning rush hour. That lane control system was taken apart at the beginning of the 66 Express Lanes project.
WTOP’s Dave Dildine contributed to this report.