Grayson gets more roads on VDOT plan

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By Patrick Smith

INDEPENDENCE — The Virginia Department of Transportation received a bump in funding for several road projects in Grayson County for 2015, according to Wytheville Residency Administrator Jeff Russell.

Russell addressed the Grayson County Board of Supervisors this month and presented the Secondary Six-Year Funding Plan for the board’s approval. Russell began with a disclaimer that the only guaranteed money in the plan was for 2015 and that all other years listed were projections. However, because of a change in the definition of “rural rustic roads,” he said more roads will be included on this plan and funding for Grayson County road improvements is projected at $1.8 million more than anticipated last year, despite a statewide revenue shortfall.

“That’s the best in the district, I would presume,” commented County Administrator Jonathan Sweet.

“I would say that’s probably unique statewide – certainly within the Wytheville residency,” said Russell.

In the list of priority roads, Russell pointed out that Spring Valley Road was the only paved road. He also mentioned that the plan added four roads and 3 ½ miles this year.

The six-year plan unanimously approved by the Grayson supervisors includes:

• Spring Valley Road, at the intersection with 604, Old Colonial Road, .1 mile: reconstruct, replace the bridge, improve pavement, 2014.

• Shale Hollow Road from 857 to 805, .15 mile: reconstruct and surface, 2014.

• Freedom Lane, from 604 to end of state maintenance, .5 mile: reconstruct and surface, 2014-15.

• Hidden Valley Road, from U.S. 21 to end of state maintenance, .85 mile: reconstruct and surface, 2015-16.

• Clover Lane, from 660 to end of state maintenance, .12 mile: reconstruct and surface, 2015-16.

• Riverbend Road, from 602 to 1.8 miles east of 601, 1.8 miles: reconstruct and surface, 2016-17.

• Old Ferry Road, from U.S. 58 to 634, .95 miles: reconstruct and surface, 2016-17.

• Big Ridge Road, from 662 to 764, 1.6 miles: reconstruct and surface, 2017-18.

• Little Road, from 668 to 673, .2 miles: reconstruct and surface, 2017-2018.

• Scale House Lane, from .8 mile west of 634 to 634, .8 mile: reconstruct and surface, 2018-19.

• Longview Lane, from .55 mile west of 631 to 631, .55 mile: reconstruct and surface, 2018-19.

• Rock Creek Lane, from 687 to 888, .8 mile: reconstruct and surface, 2019-2020.

Wilson District Supervisor Eddie Rosenbaum said a citizen had requested that a paving project on Stone’s Chapel Road in the Comers Rock community be completed. He said the road had only been partially paved and lacked 2.3 miles.

Sweet said this year’s VDOT Six-Year Plan is unique in that there are lots of projects on the list, but unlike years before, there is actually funding to correlate to the number of projects. He said the present list was approved in 2009, and several of the roads have been on that list for many years, but this plan should allow smaller projects to be completed sooner.

“Of this list of projects we have, [Jeff Russell and I] put them in order and, if they were rural rustic road eligible, then that put them in the plan so that we could get as many on there as possible,” Sweet explained. That way, “all of these smaller roads aren’t behind a project like Riverbend.”

“And Rock Creek, that’s a $4 million project, so none of these other projects could be done until Rock Creek is done,” Sweet said. “So Rock Creek is getting some money put toward it, but all those other rural rustic road projects are getting done, so that’s why you see so many other projects on that list.”

Sweet noted the county also plans to form a road review committee either next year or the following year to build a list of projects to include as other projects are completed.

Elk Creek District Supervisor Brenda Sutherland, who attended a VDOT district meeting on behalf of Grayson County last fall in Bristol, and Supervisor-At-Large David Sexton personally thanked Russell for his efforts to help the county.

Russell stressed that VDOT is completing projects “one bite at a time.”

During a public hearing on the matter, three citizens spoke from two different roads.

Stephen Cornett and Diana Shields, both residents of Big Ridge Road, asked that VDOT keep their road on the plan and complete a paving project for the unpaved portion of the road.

Joy Murray of Riverbend Road, who said she had been attending VDOT Six-Year Plan meetings for 14 years, also pleaded with VDOT to keep her road on the plan and to complete the paving project for the whole road.