This story has been updated from its original version.

A two-vehicle crash with minor injuries that took down a stoplight Wednesday at U.S. Route 29 and Vint Hill Road in Fauquier County is under investigation by the Virginia State Police. The intersection is in the same high-accident area that recently saw $3.54 million in state-funded road improvements.

The 9:15 a.m. crash closed the southbound side of 29 for more than six hours and curtailed the northbound side to a right turn lane, further snarling traffic on the four-lane highway local commuters use to reach D.C.

VDOT reported all thru-lanes on U.S. 29 open at 3:30 p.m. Left turns from Vint Hill Road (Route 215) remained blocked as emergency repairs to the stoplight happened overnight. 

At 3:55 a.m. on Thursday, VDOT reported signal technicians and contract crews had installed a span wire traffic signal on southbound Route 29 at Vint Hill Road in Fauquier County. The left turn restriction was lifted at that point, and all lanes were open.

A 1996 Freightliner dump truck was traveling south on U.S. 29 when it attempted to avoid a vehicle in the right lane stopped for a red light at the Vint Hill Road junction. The Freightliner collided with a 2019 Subaru Forester, ran off the roadway left, collided with a guard rail and traffic light pole, according to a state police news release.

The driver of the Freightliner, Wayne E. Piel Sr., 53, of Manassas, suffered minor injuries in the crash and was transported to Novant Health UVA Haymarket Medical Center. Piel was wearing a seatbelt. He was charged with reckless driving.

The driver of the Subaru, a 63-year-old woman of Washington, D.C., was uninjured in the crash. She was wearing a seatbelt.

The northbound approach to Route 215 ranked as the No. 1 safety need in VDOT’s nine-county Culpeper District at the time with 113 crashes reported along that stretch of highway from 2013 to 2017.

The “Cut the Hills” project, accomplished last year by Chemung Contracting Corp. of Mitchells, regraded the northbound lanes of 29 and removed two hills leading to the crashes on that busy section of highway just south of the Prince William County line, according to VDOT.

VDOT spokesman Lou Hatter said the project made improvements to the northbound lanes south of the intersection.

“This crash was in the southbound lanes at or just north of the intersection. We don’t have any crash stats immediately available,” he said.

Assisting at the crash scene were Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office, Fauquier County Emergency Services, VDOT, Dominion Power, and Verizon.

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