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Board presses VDOT about widening Rt. 3 in W’md

With new transportation money available as a result of transportation legislation that took effect July 1, the Westmoreland Board of Supervisors Monday night pressed the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) on the need to widen state Rt. 3 in Westmoreland County.


Supervisors raised the issue after Dave Brown, VDOT’s Fredericksburg administrator, told the board at its meeting there would be a $2.1 billion increase in funding for statewide transportation in Virginia over the next six years. “Funding for primary and secondary roads in the Fredericksburg district will more than double,” Brown told the supervisors.

Supervisor Rosemary Mahan asked Brown, “Rt. 3 is a primary road, when is it going to be made four-lanes?” Mahan noted Rt. 17 on the Middle Peninsula is four-lanes, and Rt. 360 is four-lanes, but Rt. 3 through Westmoreland County remains two-lanes and is clogged during times of peak traffic.

“This is hurting our economy. There’s got to be a plan to make Rt. 3 four-lanes,” Mahan declared. “There’s got to be a way to get this done.” Supervisor Woodrow Hynson pointed out that Rt. 3 is currently four-lanes through King George and through much of both Richmond and Lancaster Counties. “And you have to come through here to get to there,” Mahan said. “So what’s going on?”

Brown said that while there are no current plans for widening Rt. 3 in VDOT’s six-year plan, “We are in the process of studying ways to see what we can do to improve Rt. 3 through Westmoreland County.” Brown suggested that adding passing lanes might be one answer to the problem.

Brown said much of the new funding would go for road maintenance and for repairing and rebuilding bridges in the area, including the bridge on Rt. 205 over Mattox Creek, which lies between Oak Grove and Colonial Beach. In response to a question from Supervisor Larry Roberson, Brown said bids on the Mattox Creek Bridge project will go out in December and work will begin next spring.

In other business, Colonial Beach Mayor Mike Ham told the supervisors the recent transfer of Colonial Beach’s 911 calls to the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office “is complete and working well.” The supervisors praised Sheriff C.O. Balderson for his efforts in making the 911 transfer a success.

Ham also reported that the recent 4th of July weekend was an economic success for the county and for Colonial Beach. “We had more people down for the 4th than we have seen since I have lived here,” Ham said. “And most stayed for the full weekend.” Ham said next up for Colonial Beach is the jet ski races, which will take place in two weeks.

Mahan told supervisors that a new country store has opened for business at the intersection of Mt. Holly Rd. and Erica Rd., and now residents of that area will not have to make a long drive for gas and groceries. “Good news,” Mahan said. “Erica Mall is open, and they did very well this past weekend. Please go out and support our local businesses.”

 

Richard Leggitt

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