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VDOT Working to Save Lives and Taxpayer Dollars Part II

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Flashing yellow traffic light in Albemarle County Flashing yellow traffic light in Albemarle County
Madison Carter and Nathan Umberger Madison Carter and Nathan Umberger
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

NBC29's Madison Carter's exploration of some of Albemarle County's most dangerous intersections takes us to Keswick.

Engineers with Virginia's Department of Transportation say money is often the biggest obstacle in reducing the potential for accidents on roadways.

“I wish there was such thing as a perfect intersection, but, as you know, humans are driving vehicles. There's usually some level of human error that you can't necessarily beat,” said VDOT Traffic Engineer Nathan Umberger.

The intersection of Routes 250 and 22 near Keswick is an example of a lower-cost solution. Three years ago, it was the first place in the district to have a flashing yellow light installed for the turn lane. Engineers say it works better than the intersections where a green arrow turns to a green circle.

“A lot of times that can still be confusing because you'll see the green so who has the right to way?” Umberger said.

The arrow project cost about $20,000. Since their installation, reports show a 33 percent reduction in non-rear end or animal-related crashes.

Engineers still aren't satisfied.

“Something else we've thought about doing here is what we call the high-visibility back plates,” said Umberger.

For about $5,000, these reflective borders around lights can help color blind people, and drivers at night pay more attention to a signal. Their affect is usually a five to10-percent reduction in crashes.

“A lot of times how we look at it is how much are we investing for how much are we reducing?” Umberger said.

Tomorrow, NBC29's Madison Carter will dig deeper into the answer to that question. She'll show you a project with a bigger price tag, but one that VDOT says is worth the extra money.