New 35-mph speed limit coming soon to Richmond Highway corridor


Motorists will soon encounter 35-mph speed limit signs along the Richmond Highway corridor in Fairfax County.

Starting May 23, motorists driving on Richmond Highway between the southern outskirts of the City of Alexandria and Jeff Todd Way/Mount Vernon Memorial Highway in Woodlawn will face a 35-mph speed limit, according to a May 15 news release from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

VDOT’s decision to reduce the speed limit from 45 mph to 35 mph along the approximately seven-mile stretch of highway is a result of the speed limit study it began conducting in August 2021. The study was designed to assess if vehicle speeds should be reduced on Richmond Highway for safety reasons before the upcoming highway widening and Bus Rapid Transit projects take place. The study team ended up recommending a speed reduction due to the segment’s high crash rate. VDOT held two public information meetings about the speed study and presented its preliminary findings and recommendations to community members in July 2022.

Signs displaying the new 35-mph speed limit will be installed along the Route 1 corridor May 23.

A 35-mph sign just off the highway on Beacon Hill Road

One of the concerns local residents and commuters had expressed about a potential speed limit reduction was the prospect of more traffic jams. VDOT’s analysis concluded there would be minimal changes in traffic volume, but the agency promised to monitor the issue. According to VDOT spokesperson Alex Liggitt, VDOT will “definitely look at signal timing and adjust it as needed” to keep traffic flowing smoothly at key intersections.

“We’re going to keep a close eye on it,” he said.

Once the new speed limit is posted, it will be up to the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) to ensure motorists comply with it. A spokesperson from FCPD told On the MoVe the county is taking traffic safety “very seriously.”

“There will definitely be an uptake in traffic enforcement throughout the county,” said the spokesperson.

Last week, FCPD stepped up enforcement of the 50-mph speed limit on the Fairfax County Parkway as part of its “50 Means 50” campaign. Officers from all Fairfax County District Stations participated in the enforcement effort, according to a May 15 news post from FCPD, issuing a total of 890 traffic summonses and 163 warning tickets.

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