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Money available to tackle list of Mecklenburg County road improvements

SoVaNow.com / March 15, 2017
Members of the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors’ Secondary Roads Committee met with officials from VDOT on Wednesday to discuss the Six-Year Plan for improving county roads.

The Six-Year Plan is a document that outlines the county’s spending priorities for transportation projects for the next six years. It is updated each year.

Billy Smith and Tommy Johnson, residency director and assistant residency director for VDOT in South Hill, said for the first time in nearly a decade Mecklenburg County would have enough money to pave every project on its road improvement list.

Currently there are four roads recommended for paving: Parsons Road in Chase City, Red Store Road in Clarksville, and Turtle Road and Old St. Tammany Road in the Burnt Store area.

For the upcoming budget year, Mecklenburg County will receive a one-time allocation of $282,908 from VDOT for improvements to unpaved roads and $284,266 in regular construction money. Smith said the regular construction money can be used for improvements on either paved or unpaved roads, and traditionally Mecklenburg County uses it to pave unpaved roads.

With the extra money, committee members agreed to seek the approval of the full Board of Supervisors to pave one additional road, Rochichi Road near Boydton.

Smith estimates the cost for paving the five roads at approximately $450,000 to $550,000. If there is enough money left over, committee members are asking to pave Twin Peaks Road in Chase City.

The work will be done by VDOT, and Smith said crews will begin work as soon as possible, weather permitting.

He expects it will take to June 2020 before the paving work is completed. “We need to balance our paving and maintenance work,” he said.

Rochichi Road was added to the plan this year at the request of committee chairman David Brankley and member Jim Jennings. Traffic on this once quiet dirt road increased significantly when the county leased the land at the end of the road to Rudd’s Creek Marina. According to VDOT’s most recent traffic count conducted last year, around 135 vehicles per day travel the road on the weekend.

The increased wear and tear, as well as the amount of dust stirred up by visitors to the marina or those hauling boats, is a burden on the people who live along the Road, Brankley said.

Jennings, too, has been a vocal advocate for residents of Rochichi Road. He noted that the county, not the residents, caused the increased traffic flow, and that the residents should not suffer because of actions taken by local government.

Jennings makes the same arguments on behalf of people living along Old Cox and Ridge Roads in Boydton, who’ve seen those roads degrade as a result of heavy construction trucks traveling to and from Microsoft. The county is in the process of obtaining easements from the landowners along Ridge Road and will use discretionary funds from the Governor and the Tobacco Commission (GOF and TROF funds) to cover the cost of paving and repairing those roads, explained County Administrator Wayne Carter.

Carter also said the county has applied for revenue sharing monies from VDOT to pay for repairs and paving on Old Cox and Probst Roads. He was not confident of receiving any revenue sharing money for the coming fiscal year since VDOT’s revenue sharing pot is around $90 million and it received over $200 million in requests from localities throughout Virginia.

Smith said he had one last pot of money to discuss with committee members. Last year and again in the coming fiscal year, Mecklenburg County received just over $75,000 to pay for safety improvements. Smith said this money can be used for road repairs, drainage improvements along roadways, to install sidewalks, or other improvements that are safety related.

Supervisors Glanzy Spain, whose ED-2 district encompasses one of the two worst intersections in the county for the number of traffic accidents, said he would like to see the money spent to improve safety at the intersection of Highways 92 and 58 in Boydton.

Despite repeated requests from county officials, VDOT engineers steadfastly refuse to install a stoplight at that location. For that reason, Smith suggested two other changes, lengthening the turn lanes from Highway 58 and adding rumble strips across Highway 92 to warn drivers they are approaching an intersection.

Smith said this would cost the county about $88,000. There is currently $154,563 available for this project.

It was agreed that this recommendation would be carried to the full Board of Supervisors for approval at the next meeting.

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