Now we are yet another tragic death past high time to address the combination of design and law enforcement problems that have long plagued US 50 west of Middleburg, and similar ill-conceived intersections and forced merge areas all over the commonwealth.

Stretches of highway where two high-speed lanes abruptly narrow to one are notorious killers.  Drivers in passing lanes race to get ahead of the cars on their right.

Why?

For a one or two car-length “advantage” as traffic either accordions at and after a merge point at which the speed limit doesn’t change (as is the case as US 50 becomes a two-lane road for drivers headed west outside Middleburg . . . or slows down and piles up if the merge coincides with a lowered speed limit (as is the case as US 50 enters Middleburg FROM the west, for example.)

Such an event on 50 west of Middleburg resulted in a deadly head-on collision.

Then there’s the ongoing and deadly-dangerous problem of the intersection of Zula Road and Route 50.

Drivers unfamiliar with the intersection of Zula and the four-lane route 50, especially those prompted by their GPS devices to “turn left” on route 50, take their lives and those of others in their hands.

Turning left, to the “west” too soon, sends inattentive or unfamiliar drivers directly into the path of speeding cars speeding east toward Middleburg.

Some of those eastbound drivers, approaching the intersection blind after crossing the ridge at Mount Defiance, are speeding.  Indeed, some of those who should be most familiar with the dangerous intersection speed up because they also know they will soon have to merge from a four-lane highway into a slower two-lane route 50 as it enters Middleburg.

It’s deadly either way.

Solutions to those problems (re-design and rebuilding; stop-lights; flashers; streetlights; constant ruthless patrolling and enforcement) are neither pretty, easy nor inexpensive . . . but something must be done.

If you travel those roads, or know, or love someone who does, contact VDOT, your local and state legislators and complain.

Support extra efforts by law enforcement.

Don’t give up until something is done.

One more death or injury is one too many.