WASHINGTON – It used to be the type of road you would take for a nice Sunday drive, but Route 15 has also become an alternative to the crowded Interstates in Virginia and Maryland and accidents are on the rise.
Last year there were 239 crashes, including three deaths on the 37 miles of Route 15 through Maryland. There were 318 crashes along the 230 miles of the roadway through Virginia. Both those numbers are increases.
There have been three fatal accidents along the Loudoun County stretch of the highway already this year; bringing the total number of fatal crashes along the Virginia, Maryland stretch of Route 15 to nine in the last three years.
About 400 miles of Route 15 meanders through small towns like Culpeper, Farmville and Warrenton with mostly farm land and horse country on either side. It is two lanes in some areas, four lanes in others.
Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corrine Geller says the two lane roadway was never designed to handle the traffic volume it is now.
“It’s still considered a rural route” says Geller. “The posted speed limit is there for a reason.”
Speed, fatigue and alcohol are key factors in many of the crashes.
State police in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Pennsylvania have stepped up patrols on Route 15 this weekend to highlight the increased danger.