Changes to VDOT six-year plan priorities proposed

Published 4:16 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Charlotte County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the resolution for the proposed secondary Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) six-year plan, spanning 2017-2022, during its monthly meeting on Tuesday, June 14.

Elise Green, a Randolph resident, spoke on behalf of nine families who live along the gravel Green View Road, within the Bacon-Saxe District, recently slated to be paved as a part of the new six-year plan. She approached the podium with happiness about being included, but questioned supervisors position on the project timeline.

“We appreciate the board’s hard work in getting this road on the six-year plan to be paved. In the past, we’ve been promised year after year, next time the road will be paved, next time the road will be paved. So, we’re happy to see it slated on the six-year plan,” said Green. “However, the concern is that it’s not slated to be paved until 2018, and I was wondering if I could get some justification for that to bring back to the other families that live on that road.”

According to Green, all of the people who live on the road are affected, as well as the traffic it receives by non-residents, especially during the winter when slush renders the road useless. She noted four of the families are farmers and have a lot of difficulty taking their product to and from marketplaces to make a living due to the road quality.

“The issue with the additional delay of paving the road is, forgive me, the lack of quality maintenance on the road, especially in recent years,” said Green, offering photos of the road after being hit with snow this year.

Dillwyn VDOT resident engineer Scot Shippee explained the state department offers the board preliminary road and project rankings based on factors like traffic counts and people per square mile. The ranking is designed to pinpoint the areas where the taxpayers’ dollars will go towards affecting the most people.

“We gave the board a preliminary ranking system, ultimately it’s the board’s decision as to where they want to rank the roads,” said Shippee.

Vice Chairman Gary Walker asserted his support for the formulaic approach to the order for VDOT projects.

“The reason we went to the ranking, Mr. (Haywood Hamlet) Chairman, if you remember, was to take the politics out of it,” said Walker. “If we’ve got a formula that says the most bang for your buck, the most towns taken care of then we’re trying to spend taxpayer dollars to the benefit of most people that way.”

Cullen-Red House board member Nancy Carwile added, “This is a decision for the entire county … If we switched, Green View or any other road, somebody else with maybe more traffic who’s been waiting even longer may get pushed down.”

The resident engineer cited Green View Road’s traffic count to reach 100 vehicles per day so “it more than qualifies” to be paved.

“Again, it’s the board’s prerogative as to where to place this road in the order,” he added.

Drakes Branch board member Garland Hamlett Jr. and Bacon-Saxe board member Royal Freeman expressed their support for moving the road higher on the docket.

A decision regarding a potential change in Green View Road’s priority on the list wasn’t reached during the meeting.

To conclude her comments, Green said, “If there is something that could be done to move Green View Road up to accommodate the people that live on that road, nine families, multiple members of each family, that’s all I have to say, but we would certainly be grateful for it.”