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County supervisors consider pedestrian bridge for U.S. 15 after crash kills 13-year-old boy

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Candland 2020 Peter Candland

 Supervisor Pete Candland, R-Gainesville 

Prince William County supervisors are considering whether they will pursue building a pedestrian bridge over U.S. 15 near Battlefield High School following the death of 13-year-old Haymarket boy who was struck and killed by a minivan while crossing the seven-lane roadway Tuesday afternoon.  

The boy was heading from the nearby Dominion Valley subdivision toward Battlefield High School at about 12:30 p.m. when he was struck. He was taken to an area hospital where he died of his injuries, according to police. 

In response to the incident, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, at the request of Supervisor Pete Candland, R-Gainesville, directed County Executive Chris Martino to start drafting a plan to build a pedestrian bridge at the intersection of U.S. 15 and Graduation Drive so students and others can cross the busy roadway safely.   

“We have a perfect storm. You have hundreds of kids each morning walking across [U.S. 15]. I drive there almost every morning taking my son to school, and they’re crossing seven lanes of traffic,” Candland said. “... The intersection at 15 and Graduation Drive has been a source of a lot of concern over the years.”  

Building a pedestrian bridge there is not a new idea. Candland said his office has approached the Virginia Department of Transportation about constructing a pedestrian bridge there several times over the last decade, first in 2012, then again in 2015, and again just a few months ago. Each time, Candland said VDOT officials said a pedestrian bridge was not warranted at the intersection, and instead added other minor traffic improvements.  

“We have hit dead ends multiple times over the years, but I'm hopeful that we'll have some progress this time,” Candland said.  

It is not known when the proposal could come back before the board of county supervisors for a vote, or how much it would cost. The Fairfax Board of County Supervisors voted earlier this month to approve a $12 million pedestrian bridge over Wiehle Avenue in Reston, Virginia. 

Pedestrian and vehicle crash deaths are at three-year high in Prince William County, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles crash database. There have been six pedestrians killed by vehicle drivers in 2021 and 24 total vehicle crash deaths, the most recorded in the county since 2018.  

Reach Daniel Berti at dberti@fauquier.com 

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