Residents weigh in on roads plan

FRONT ROYAL — Warren County residents weighed in on the latest plan to improve some of the area’s unpaved roads.

The Board of Supervisors voted last week to adopt a resolution approving the county’s Secondary Six-Year Plan for fiscal 2017-2022 and the construction budget for fiscal 2017. The board heard from about a half-dozen residents during a public hearing, many of whom complained that their road, once again, did not appear on the transportation plan.

The plan includes improvements to Happy Creek Road, Blue Mountain Road, Rocky Lane, Ashby Station Road, Richardson Road, Bucks Mill Road, Downing Farm Road, Panhandle Road, Stokes Airport Road, Cauthorn Mill Road, Oregon Hollow Road, Strasburg Road and the Morgan Ford Road bridge over the Shenandoah River. More than a dozen residents in the Reliance area submitted a petition to North River District Supervisor Daniel J. Murray Jr. seeking upgrades to Cauthorn Mill Road, citing safety, health and environmental issues on the unpaved route. Virginia Department of Transportation representatives gave a presentation on the plan to the board and the audience.

Charles Woodard Jr., of Rocky Lane, said residents can’t open the windows to their homes or sit on the front porches because of the dust kicked up as vehicles travel down the unpaved road. Woodard recalled that residents tried to get the road paved but transportation officials said then that they needed 40 feet or right-of-way space. Rocky Lane resident Richard Smith echoed Woodard’s comments. Elwood Winer, also of Rocky Lane, pointed out that the plan now includes improvements to his road but not for another three years. The longtime resident said the road has been on the transportation “I don’t know how many times.”

Shady Tree Lane resident Harry Davis said he was glad to see that Blue Mountain Road ranked high on the rural roads list. Davis said he wants to make sure the road remains high on the list of priorities. Blue Mountain Road has been on the transportation plan for about 20 years, Davis said. Blue Mountain Road resident Richard Shane echoed Davis’ concerns and asked if the county can regulate the speed on the route once it’s paved. Shane added that motorists are likely to travel even faster after the road is paved.

Steven Cullers and Jeff Browne asked that Rocky Hollow Road be restored to the transportation plan. Proposed improvements to the road were on the list about 20 years ago and some residents gave up land needed for the project but the initiative stalled and the road eventually fell off the list. Luray resident John Gibson, owner of Down River Canoe Company in Bentonville, voiced support for Cullers’ efforts to seek improvements to Rocky Hollow Road as well as for Hazard Ford Road. Jim Guy said he’s also concerned about Rocky Hollow Road falling off the list.

High Top Road resident Linda McDonough said she favors some of the projects but voiced concerns about routes in private subdivisions. McDonough said the homeowners can raise enough money to cover the cost of improvements without needing to turn the roads over to VDOT or to spend tax dollars.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com