Fairfax approves safety improvements study after deadly crash on Lee Chapel Road

February 2, 2023


By Acacia James

Following a crash that killed two teenagers and left a third in critical condition, lawmakers in Fairfax County are asking transportation officials to look into safety improvements on Lee Chapel Road in Fairfax Station.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Supervisor Pat Herrity’s board matter, which orders the county’s transportation department to “research and provide a preliminary cost estimate” for removing the hills on Lee Chapel Road between Ox Road and Fairfax County parkway.

“These interchanges should be designed with the ultimate goal of the four-lane widening currently envisioned in the comprehensive plan,” Herrity said.

Herrity said he met with two fourteen-year-olds who started a petition calling for safety improvements to Lee Chapel Road.

“There’s a lot of community support for doing something, and unfortunately, it takes a tragedy.”

Herrity said he recommended the project following a fatal crash in 2015 but said funding was insufficient at the time. His board matter also directed staff to look at the feasibility and cost of installing street lights in the vicinity of the hills.

While Chairman Jeffrey McKay supported the motion and agreed that the road needed safety improvements, he also proposed further educating and preparing young drivers.

“Here we had a tragedy involving 16-year-olds who are new drivers, and you know, I think we need to be having a conversation also with our school partners about what type of education and what type of collaboration is happening at the school level,” McKay said.

The victims of the most recent fatal crash on Lee Chapel Road were all South County High School students. In a release, Fairfax County police say the car was traveling in excess of 100 mph before the wreck and that it was airborne for approximately 130 feet.

“Clearly, this is an unsafe stretch of roadway, and we need to be looking at every element of this roadway for improvements,” McKay said.

Supervisor John Foust acknowledged that the board removed specific transportation priorities in 2019 due to the state giving the county less money but urged the board to “take a comprehensive look” at where it stands in its six-year plan.

Herrity said similar roads in the county might also warrant a change.

“I think we’ve got more work to do than just this one hill, but for now, I think we need to focus here,” he said.