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Updated: ‘Can VDOT improve the signage and signals to clarify turns on red …on Purcell Road at VA Route 234 to avoid confusion from drivers?’

Submitted by Daniel Foose, of Prince William County: 

With recent completion of construction on Purcell Road, there are now three lanes instead of two where Purcell Road ends at VA Route 234. Two of the three are right turn lanes on Purcell.

At the signal, the leftmost right turn lane is marked with a “red light” signal indication and a sign that says “No Turn on Red from This Lane” and the rightmost right turn lane is marked with a “right red arrow” signal indication.

According to the Virginia Driver’s Manual, published by the DMV, “Virginia law prohibits right and left turns at red arrow lights” unless signs are posted at the intersection that read ‘Right on Red Arrow After Stop’ or ‘Left on Red Arrow After Stop.’” (source: https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/pdf/dmv39c.pdf). Both signals display “right green arrow” indications.

It is rather curious, then, that VDOT has chosen to display the signals and signage in this convoluted manner, rather than placing a general sign stating “No Turn on Red” if the intention were to prohibit all turns on red.

If the intention were to, instead, allow right turns on red in the rightmost right lane, it would be better to have signage or signals that clearly indicate that one can do so. This is how most drivers appear to be treating the lane, though the “right red arrow” signal makes this illegal.

Can VDOT improve the signage and signals to clarify turns on red in the rightmost right turn lane on Purcell Road at VA Route 234 to avoid confusion from drivers?

Got a traffic question, concern, or gripe? Send it to news@potomaclocal.com and put “traffic” in the email subject line.

Updated

This is a Prince William County Department of Transportation road project, not VDOT.

Here’s a statement from the department’s director Rick Canizales: 

“We are literally working on resigning the entire intersection. Right now there are no u-turns allowed on Rt 234, but that will change and signage to advise about right turns on red will be included at the same time. This will be happening within 30 days, awaiting VDOT approval and sign manufacturing.”

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