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VDOT takes new look at vexing 58/15 intersection in Clarksville

SoVaNow.com / June 13, 2018
Clarksville-area motorists may soon see a fix at the U.S. 15/58 intersection that has vexed drivers for more than two decades.

Billy Smith, residency manager for VDOT’s South Hill office, told members of the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors on Monday that his office has been asked to look into upgrades to the 58/15N intersection near Clarksville to alleviate ongoing traffic concerns. Smith said the directive came from Virginia Department of Transportation Commissioner Stephen E. Birch.

Ever since its creation, drivers approaching the intersection of the two 58 bridges over Kerr Lake — the bypass and business bridges — have been confused as to where to turn when headed east. More than one driver has mistakenly turned into the offramp for 58 heading west. The sloped layout of the intersection makes it difficult for many drivers to see oncoming traffic, especially when driving through the intersection traveling east towards Boydton and South Hill.

Smith said the intersection has been one of the most talked about and contentious items during his years of service as area residency manager, due in part to the number of traffic accidents that occur there.

Officials at the VDOT District Office asked Smith to have his staff install a roundabout at the intersection by the end of December, even though the final design plan is still being formulated.

Smith said his limited staff is already tied up with the paving of several roads this year as part of the county’s six-year plan, and he does not have the manpower to add another project to their workload. He acknowledged that the current configuration of the 58/15 intersection poses a hazard.

Supervisors, including Andy Hargrove and Gregg Gordon, have pressed VDOT for years to make changes to the intersection. Members said that even if the work cannot take place this year, they hope staffers with VDOT will participate in further discussions and come up with a workable design and timetable.

In other business at Monday’s meeting of supervisors:

» David Brankley asked Smith to look into the ban on farm vehicles traveling on the bypasses around towns throughout the county. VDOT Assistant Residency Manager Tommy Johnson said he understands the reason for the ban is because the roads, built using federal funds, were designated as “limited access highways,” which preclude use by farm vehicles and certain other equipment.

» Cassandra Smith was appointed to the Library Board to replace Leonard Elam who retired effective June 1, and Mike Denton and Charlies Simmons were reappointed to their respective boards, the Lake Country Regional Airport Commission and Southside Planning District Commission.

» B&B Consultants have been hired to evaluate whether the former prison site, on Prison Road in Boydton, is suitable for a water permit and treatment facility.

» Supervisors approved transfer of $12,831 in grant money to the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office. The money, which came from the Virginia State Library, will be used to cover, in part, the cost of microfilming court records.

» Remac, Inc. a paving company based in Freeman, was hired to patch, seal and stripe the parking lots at South Hill and Clarksville elementary schools and the School Board central office at a cost of $42,877.08. Gupton Insulation Company of Clarksville, which already has the contract to repair roofs on the both high and middle schools, was given an additional contract to repair roofs on the gyms and Vo-Tech buildings at Park View and Bluestone High Schools.

These buildings were not included in the original bid at the request of the Supervisors, who hope to save the buildings for a new uses once construction is completed on the new consolidated high and middle school complex. Gupton will be paid $199,800 to remove and replace damaged roofing material and clean and seal the roofs on the four buildings with a high-solid silicone.

» Supervisors reviewed, without comment, the minutes from the joint education committee meeting on May 14. Superintendent Paul Nichols explained during the meeting that the School Board is looking at construction costs being over the $100 million budget set by Supervisors, due to unanticipated infrastructure work such as installing a sewer line and pump station and moving a fiber optic cable that bisects the property at Wooden Bridge Road and Highway 58, the expected site for the new school complex.

Other items that could drive up the cost for the new school to as high as $135 million include construction of an aquatic center and ag barn with classrooms, and moving the School Board central office and bus shop onto the school property.

During that same meeting, lead architect Bill Upton said the minimum cost for the school construction project was $113 million, but it could be $135 million or more to build a school facility with the amenities requested by school trustees.

Nichols was encouraged during the joint meeting to solicit financial support from the community for some of the facilities deemed desirous, but not essential to the school.

» Jim Jennings thanked board members who took the time to attend last week’s meeting of the Ag Committee and gave an overview of the discussions that took place.

» FSA Executive Director Denise Hight updated the committee on a new program offered by the Farm Service Agency called Emergency Conservation. The program will help farmers rehabilitate land that was washed out by the recent rain, and would cover the cost of debris removal, replacing fences, etc.

Hight stressed the importance of using programs sponsored by the FSA. For the past several years the USDA has been consolidating operations, and if the farmers want to keep their local FSA office, they need to take advantage of programs such as low interest loans for equipment, grain trucks and grain bins and the Livestock Indemnity Program.

Extension Service head Taylor Clarke reminded committee members of the GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) meeting on June 27.

Jennifer Bowen, the 4-H youth Development administrator shared news about the Microsoft grant the County received to help students study ways to solve problems using technology.

During his update, County Administrator Wayne Carter said his board, which is responsible for oversight of county monies, is engaged in the school contraction project and is working to assure that funding of the project does not come at a substantial increase in real estate tax rates.

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VDOT should check the roads in Halifax Co. and Pittsylvania Co.. They all need attention, Secondary roads are sdo bad drivers being killed .


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