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More VDOT issues with unpaved roads

More VDOT issues with unpaved roads

Last week’s approval to go forward with paving Route 682 (Eagles Nest Lane) in King George on a split vote did not put an end to prioritizing the rest of the numerous road upgrade decisions still confronting the Board of Supervisors.

The vote at a special meeting on March 26 only put to bed the latest contentious road issue in the county, but there are others bubbling to the surface. Supervisors have received lists of unpaved roads in the county. They also received a list of roads that are federal-eligible, meaning federal funding can be used for improvements under certain conditions.

In addition, Supervisors learned some new information regarding Virginia Department of

Transportation (VDOT) funding at each of the last two meetings.

REVENUE SHARING
One was in regard to VDOT’s “Revenue Sharing” program. Supervisor Ruby Brabo said during the March 26 work session that she got the news from talking to VDOT’s Susan Gardner between meetings.

Brabo said the VDOT funding allocated annually for the county’s secondary roads could be saved up and used as the county’s share to ask VDOT to match with more funding.

That was a new interpretation for Supervisors, that VDOT would match its own money previously allocated to a county, basically doubling its funding.

Brabo said, “You take the money you’ve set aside and apply for revenue sharing and they match dollar for dollar.”

Supervisor Joe Grzeika was surprised at the interpretation, saying, “That’s their money. That’s the money that VDOT has put into that. You can do revenue sharing if you use county money.”

But Brabo said, “No, she said you can use their money.” She added, “They do that so they can pave the roads sooner.”

With VDOT crying poor, it would be surprising, but advantageous for King George if the state department has found a way to double its funding to localities for road projects.

Supervisor Dale Sisson agreed that it was definitely worth looking into for more information.
The other news was regarding $149,000 in federal funding that appears to have been made available for improving some ‘federal-eligible’ roads, since it may no longer be intended for use to reconstruct Route 625.

ROUTE 625-SALEM CHURCH RD
It was announced by VDOT’s resident administrator David Brown on March 20, that the Route 625-Salem Church Road project has become “nearly impossible to move forward” without completely modifying and re-scoping the project that had been designed to flatten out two successive 90-degree curves in the road and to raise the vertical alignment to resolve chronic drainage issues.  

The project hit a snag last November after VDOT officials heard major objections from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources due to the proposed project’s impact on property in the Woodlawn Archeological & Historical District, and the Greater Port Royal Rural Historic District.

There has been no chance for Supervisors to discuss any possible options for re-scoping that project with Chairman Cedell Brooks deciding at the March 20 meeting that he wanted the board to move fast on road issues.

His scheduling a vote to go forward on paving Route 682 at last week’s work session March 26 was accomplished on a split vote with Brabo and John LoBuglio over-ruling ‘nay’ votes by Sisson and Grzeika.

It also resulted in shifting about $25,000 of the $149,000 in local money earmarked for the Salem Church Road project toward completing Eagles Nest Lane.

ROUTE 206-DAHLGREN ROAD INTERSECTION AT OWENS
Also, at the meeting on March 20, Supervisors heard from long-time county resident Heath Taylor about his objections to VDOT’s intent to purchase two acres of his nine-and-a-half acre property on Dahlgren Road at about $12,000 per acre.

Taylor is renovating a house on their property for a retirement home for him and his spouse, Nancy. That proposed ‘taking’ would bring the new edge of the road nearly to their doorstep.
“My front door is currently secluded, well away from the road,” Taylor said. He added, “All of the trees - evergreens, all that - would be gone. The road and power line easement will be 140-foot wide going up through Owens.”

The Dahlgren Road improvement project is slated to provide turn lanes at the intersections with Owens Drive (Route 624) and Windsor Drive (Route 218).

VDOT’s timetable calls for construction to begin next year, with construction funds estimated at $2,100,000 committed to the project, along with $500,000 for engineering design and $1,500,000 for acquisition of right-of-way, with 80 percent from federal funding and 20 percent from the state.

It’s not only Taylor’s property that is being sought by VDOT. They also want a large portion of Oakland Baptist Church’s cemetery and the front parking lot of Gautier’s Auto Body, the former old store property, and a strip along the other side of Dahlgren Road, among other properties.

Taylor suggested a more reasonable and moderate approach might be to lower the 40-mph speed limit and enforce it. He also noted there have been other suggestions for the intersection over the years, including numerous requests by Supervisors for a traffic signal.
A traffic signal has been requested for that intersection numerous times over the years by Supervisors. Former Dahlgren Supervisor Steve Wolfe wasn’t the first, but he was the most consistent, to continually bring the dangerous intersection to VDOT’s attention numerous times and requesting a traffic signal at meetings over and over again between 2000 and 2008.

ROUTE 655-ST. PAUL’S ROAD
Also at the March 20 meeting, two residents asked for paving of a short length of St. Paul’s Road, with Ralph Lee saying they had been waiting seven years to get the last small portion paved.

Sylvia Hudson likewise urged that road be paved, citing poor drainage, flooding, overgrown weed problems and adding that “there have been accidents.”

ROUTE 620-ALDEN ROAD
Lest it be forgotten, paving Alden Road has also been a topic over the last few months and years at various meetings, with Supervisor Sisson keeping the issue alive. Route 620 is the one that was dropped by VDOT’s urging from the Six-Year plan a few years ago, with officials saying they did not have money for the long-requested project. Route 620 is a dirt road in the Shiloh district, this one connecting Route 629 (Round Hill Road) to Route 205 (Ridge Road).

SIX-YEAR SECONDARY ROAD PLAN
The public hearing for this year’s update of the Six-Year Secondary Road Plan is scheduled to take place during the meeting of the Board of Supervisors on May 15. Road paving priorities are expected to be discussed prior to that date to finalize the proposed plan.

Phyllis Cook

 

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