Intersections near Springfield Mall and Seven Corners Shopping Center were the most dangerous crossroads in Fairfax County last year, according to a police listing of the county's 54 most accident-plagued intersections.
The worst corner for accidents was at Franconia and Loisdale roads near Springfield Mall, where 56 accidents in 1986 resulted in one death and 11 injuries. The intersection ranked second in 1985, with 55 accidents and 12 injuries.
"It's a very heavy traffic place; people are going into and out of the mall," said police spokesman Bill Coulter.
The corner of Arlington Boulevard and Patrick Henry Drive near Seven Corners Shopping Center was the scene of 53 accidents and 14 injuries last year. Police attributed the accidents to heavy traffic generated by the shopping center and the complicated configuration of lanes near the intersection.
The juncture of Arlington Boulevard and Gallows Road was rated the county's worst in 1984 and 1985 because of major reconstruction to reroute Arlington Boulevard (Rte. 50) under Gallows Road. Since the construction ended last year, the number of accidents has decreased, police said, and the rating has dropped to ninth.
Fairfax Transportation Director Shiva K. Pant said the accident list is used to determine which intersections require road work, but added, "It's not like the top 20 intersections all get some improvements."
He said many accidents are caused by traffic volume, not road design, and cannot easily be prevented. Some of the intersections have been on the list year after year "because they are high-volume intersections," Pant said.
Police said they have not compiled preliminary data on the most accident-ridden intersections this year.
Plans are under way to improve the intersection of Arlington Boulevard and Graham Road, which had 30 accidents last year, Pant said.
William F. Worrell, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Transportation, said the annual accident report is one factor used to determine where state road funds are focused. "If you have 10 cars and 10 accidents, that's one thing," he said. "If you have 10,000 cars and 10 accidents, that's another."
Other dangerous crossroads listed in the 1986 report were Richmond Highway and Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, with 50 accidents; Sully Road and Lee Highway, 44; Chain Bridge Road and Burke Centre Parkway, 43; and Leesburg Pike and Gallows Road, 40.
Accidents were counted in the report if they occurred within 100 feet of the intersection and involved more than $500 in property damage, police said.