Some motirists in the Reston area say that the potential for a fatal accident like the one that killed four people last week at the intersection of Rtes. 28 and 50 between Reston and Herndon exists in their area.
They say that traffic lights at the intersection of Rts. 602 and 606 sporadically malfunction, turning green simultaneously in all four directions. They claim that the lights have been implicated in a recent serious two car collision as well as several close calls. But what concerns them most, several say, is what they view as the indifference or skepticism of local police and the highway department when they try to report the malfunctions.
Vern Walker of the Reston Homeowners Association said he has received several calls about the lights.
Walker said that neither the Fairfax County police nor the highway department followed up on his complaints. "If this happens people should really be driving defensively," he said.
George Zuver is vice president of Concrete, Inc., of Herndon. One of his truck drivers was involved in a head on collision with a car earlier this month in which no one was charged because of conflicting reports about the lights.
Zuver described a similar incident in which he was involved last week. "I was headed through the interection on a green when I noticed a truck coming at me. I swerved and pulled over and immediately checked the lights and I saw we both had a green. The other driver kept going. I hunted through Reston for an hour trying to find him." He said he wanted to explain what happened and get a statement from him.
Highwaty department officials deny that motorists' complaints go unheeded. They said that several instances of malfunctioning lights have been reported and were investigated.
Highway department official Julian Brown said, "Anytime a call comes into this office it is logged in and a radiodispatched truck is sent." Brown noted that the area is under construction because 602 is being widened to four lanes. "The whole area is disturbed becuase of this," he siad.
Don Keith, resident traffic engineer for Fairfax County, said, "We have never heard of a traffic signal curing itself. If it ever malfunctions it would malfunction again when the technician is standing there." Keith concluded, "We have no reason to not rectify a problem if wecan find it. It's our job."