'Speed bars' installed on Burke roadway
By Jason Jacks
Virginia highway officials planned to unveil Wednesday, May 3, a new experimental safety device called “optical speed bars” on a half-mile stretch of Lee Chapel Road in Burke.
The bars, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation, are a series of lines painted at decreasing intervals on the roadway.
VDOT engineers say they give drivers, as they pass over them, the perception they are moving faster than they intended.
VDOT said it chose this segment of Lee Chapel Road, between Route 123 and the Fairfax County Parkway, for its experiment because it has a higher-than-average “crash rate” for motorists.
“It gets pretty hairy on there,” said VDOT spokesman Ryan Hall, who also explained this will be the first time the bars will be used in the United States.
Engineers plan to evaluate speed data collected on Lee Chapel this month with information gathered several weeks before the speed bars were painted on the road.
To measure speeds, magnetic speed detectors are also being installed at 10 locations along Lee Chapel Road.