By Alex Bridges
A new water line in a Strasburg neighborhood should help emergency responders fight fires in that area of town. But Strasburg officials warn residents that the site of the new line is not a road -- yet.
The town installed a water line from the end of Crystal Lane to Dickerson Lane at Laurie Drive. The Department of Public Works completed the connection in May to serve as both a way to keep pressure high in that area of the town in case of fires and as a backup route in the event service is interrupted.
Members of Town Council's Infrastructure Committee met Monday and visited the site of the water line connection. Town Manager Judson Rex and Jay McKinley, director of the public works department, spoke with council members at the site about the project but the discussions focused more on the future road connection and use of the rest of the town's 7-acre property.
Councilman Scott Terndrup said the connector also brings a public safety concern to the forefront -- only one road allows access to Crystal Hill. A completed connector could fix this problem.
"As a Planning Commission issue, one way in, one way out is a dangerous situation," Terndrup said.
A completed connector road may also bring more traffic through the neighborhoods, Terndrup added.
The path of the new line looks like the beginnings of a road connecting the Crystal Hill subdivision with Dickerson Lane and Laurie Drive. A preliminary layer of gravel lines the narrow strip of land. Town officials warned that the section is not a road nor would it be any time soon. The town has blocked access to the site with chains on concrete posts.
But the town's Community Plan not only calls for the water line but also a road that would eventually connect the neighborhoods. Currently, access to Crystal Hill is limited to Crystal Lane off U.S. 11.
The water line lies approximately 4 feet below the dirt surface. The path is approximately 50 feet wide. Neither gravel nor pavement has been put down but officials said that some residents have voiced concerns the town is building a road. Strasburg would need to make more improvements to the site before it could build the connection, and the town could share the cost of the connection with the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The town used grant money left over from the construction of the new water treatment plant to build the connection line on the 7 acres of land that Strasburg bought in 2010.
The project at Crystal Hill included the installation of a fire hydrant and other equipment related to the flow and pressure of the water in that area. McKinley estimated the connection project cost about $350,000.
The town purchased the land with the initial intention of building a water tower on the site that would serve that section of Strasburg, but council has all but abandoned the idea of putting a tower there.
Committee members discussed other possible recreational uses for the rest of the town's property, including a community park that could serve the neighborhoods, a wooded walking trail connected to the nearby Island Farm conservation easement. Rex explained that the town also could sell the lots for potential development.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org