VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – If you’ve driven near the intersection of South Independence Boulevard and Silverleaf Drive then you’ve seen changes are coming.
In the last 10 years, the city has recorded about one crash per month at the intersection. Officials have tried ways to reduce the crashes, like cutting trees and adding slip lanes, but they haven’t worked.
So now, they’ve turned to something permanent. At the corner of the intersection, Josh Costa sees it all.
“It’s pretty crazy, for sure,” says Costa.
His job gives him a front-row view.
“I’ll just hear a loud bang out of nowhere. I could be doing something over here, and I’ll take a glance over here and there will be some crazy accident,” Costa says
He’s worked at Freedom Wash for almost two years, and says the crashes have become more frequent.
“At least one every week, every two weeks,” Costa says.
That’s why the city started this safety project, adding a median on South Independence.
“We’ve been keeping records of this for about 10 years,” says City Traffic Engineer Robert Gey. “So there’s been about 99 crashes in the last, say eight years that we’ve been recording.” He says of those crashes, 60% include injuries.
Since 2010, there have been 99 crashes in that intersection, and Gey believes 79 could have been prevented with a median. That’s because most of the crashes occur when people try to cross South Independence to get to the other side of Silverleaf.
“When you come from the side street and you cross two lanes of high-speed traffic, and you’re trying to make a complicated decision pulling into two more lanes of fairly rapidly moving traffic. So what this will do is it’s going to prevent that complicated decision process,” Gey says.
While yellow cones and paving trucks may not be an ideal view, Costa says he’d rather see that than the alternative.
“They’ve been pretty bad, some of them,” Costa says.