- Last Updated on Monday, 12 August 2013 14:55
- Published on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 00:49
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The Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors, meeting as the administrators of the Placid Bay Sanitary District Board on Monday, approved a long-range road improvement proposal for the small Colonial Beach community.
“It’s not going to be the quickest progress, but based on what’s been done in the past, we are moving by leaps and bounds,” said Westmoreland Board of Supervisors Chairman Darryl Fisher.
Meeting at the Placid Bay Community Center before a vocal but well-mannered crowd, the supervisors voted unanimously to accept a road improvement proposal authored by the Placid Bay Civic Association. The proposal calls for using revenue sharing in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to repair the community’s roads over a period of years.
There are more than 30 roads in the Placid Bay community that are unpaved and badly in need of improvement. The proposal calls for using the estimated $60,000 a year in taxes paid by residents of the Placid Bay Sanitary District along with matching funds from the state and federal governments to pave and repair roads according to a long-range prioritized plan.
“As we work the different roads, we are going to have to set priorities. There will be some hard decisions that have to be made,” Fisher said. “But somewhere down the road you are going to look at what’s been done, and you will see real progress.”
Roads to be improved will be chosen by the Placid Bay Civic Association in coordination with the county and the state. To qualify for matching funds, the roads will have to meet state specifications. Christina Gruszecki, president of the civic association, said the roads to be paved and repaired will be chosen based on housing density, length and connection to a state road.
Of the almost 8 miles of roads in need of paving or repair, a dozen are currently eligible for the proposed improvements. The first four roads to be paved and repaired, according to the civic association plan, will be Bayview, Striper, Chrystal and Azure.
Westmoreland County Administrator Norm Risavi cautioned residents that a great deal of work must be done, especially on rights-of-way and drainage easements, before construction can proceed.
“Until those issues are resolved, it will be very hard to get this work into the state system and get VDOT involved,” Risavi said.
Risavi said that the county, working with VDOT and the civic association, “will develop a budget for each one of these roads. Construction on the first road project will begin after surveying and engineering has been done and funding is in place.
“Once we get a road up to state specifications, we won’t have to worry about it anymore,” said Risavi. “It is going to take a while, but one road at a time is better than no roads.”
“We have come a long way. A year ago we would not have thought we would have come this far,” said Dr. John L. Johnson, a member of the civic association’s roads committee and a past civic association president.
“It’s not going to be easy,” Johnson said. “But we are going to work with VDOT. We are going to work with the board of supervisors. We are going to move this thing forward.
Roads in the Placid Bay community have gone from bad to worse over the past several years as a result of storms and flooding that was especially damaging in 2011. After Tropical Storm Lee dumped almost 2 feet of rain on the area two years ago, three manmade dams in the community gave way to flash flooding.
Residents attending the Monday night meeting were told the $1 million project to repair the dams is about to get underway. Bids for the project will be let within the next few weeks, and construction is expected to begin in the fall.