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No change in the works for 58-15 bridge intersection

SoVaNow.com / January 31, 2018


Ongoing traffic issues at the intersection of U.S. 55-15 across the lake from downtown Clarksville continue to draw the attention of Clarksville Town Council.

The intersection — scene of several wrecks in recent weeks — has been a topic on ongoing discussions between Clarksville Town Manager Jeff Jones and officials with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Jones shared the results of his conversations with VDOT with members of Town Council during Monday night’s regular monthly meeting. The January meeting was rescheduled from Jan. 16 to Jan. 29.

VDOT staff contends that a stoplight at the 15/58 intersection will not adequately resolve traffic problems there, Jones told Council members. In the past week alone, that intersection was the site of two crashes, and it is frequently derided as the most dangerous intersection in Mecklenburg County.

Instead of a stoplight, Jones said he was told by VDOT that the intersection may need to be redesigned, but at present there are no funds allocated for such work.

Also, Jones said, VDOT has put the planned repaving of Business 58 east of the Clarksville bridge on hold for another year. Removal of the broken concrete and resurfacing with asphalt was supposed to take place this year. For financial reasons, that’s been put off, Jones reported.

Jones said he was promised by VDOT officials that paving would take place in 2019.

Mayor Kevin Allgood suggested Council should send VDOT a resolution stressing the need to repave not only the bridge causeway but Business 58 all the way through downtown.

Weather and equipment failures dominated much of the discussion by Council members Monday night.

Jones praised Maintenance Director Richard Elliott and his staff for their work clearing Clarksville’s streets following the Jan. 17 snowfall that dropped between eight-12 inches of snow on the area. Jones said cleanup efforts were aided by a new truck the town purchased last year. The truck came equipped with a plow on the front.

“It was more flexible on the smaller streets and made a big difference,” said Jones.

Frigid temperatures also caused a number of surface pipes in town to freeze, but there was only one water main break. Jones said the rupture near The Lake Motel was quickly repaired.

Police Chief Ricky Wilkinson said he was pleased that many drivers heeded advance storm warnings and stayed off the roads during both winter storms. While his officers handled six wrecks due to weather conditions — three during the first snowfall and three following the storm — the incidents were relatively minor and no one was injured.

The town’s maintenance department has been wracked with equipment failures in the past two weeks. There is no evidence these are due to the extreme cold. More likely, Jones said, the failures are attributed to the age of the vehicles.

One of the town’s three garbage trucks is out of commission. Repairs to it will run about $8,600 said Jones.

The transmission also went out on one of the town’s vehicles, a 1994 F150 pickup. Jones said this is one of the oldest trucks in the fleet. In addition to the transmission issues, the truck’s floorboard is rusting out, so there is no point in repairing this vehicle, said Jones. It will be decommissioned.

Town Clerk Tara Murphy explained that the town recently experienced a catastrophic failure of its computer server. The crash occurred on Jan. 6.

Murphy said it took technicians several days to repair and replace hardware and reload operating software. Because the town backs up its records every night, “we lost only one day of records.” Backup records were used to re-input data into the system and the lost records were input using the data from paper copies. The entire system is once again fully operational.

Murphy said she is waiting to receive the repair invoice from the technicians, warning Council members, “it could be very expensive.”

Work on the rewrite of the town zoning code is nearing completion. A partial draft will be reviewed by the members of the planning commission on Feb. 5 at their regular meeting. Jones said he anticipates bringing a fully updated code to Council for approval by June.

In other business, Jones encouraged members of Town Council and the public to fill out a broadband needs assessment survey being conducted by the county. The survey, found at http://www.mecklenburgva.com, is being done to identify local broadband needs and demand, said Jones, adding that better broadband access can enhance the quality of life locally.



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