County OKs secondary road improvement plan

FRONT ROYAL – County leaders have set priorities regarding which roads should be paved.

The Board of Supervisors at its regular Tuesday meeting unanimously approved its secondary road system improvement plan. The plan is split into two lists of roads that will be paved through either the Virginia Department of Transportation’s rural rustic program or its rural addition program.

Sandy Myers, VDOT Staunton District communications manager, explained that both programs are jointly funded by the county and state. She said rustic rural projects pave qualified secondary roads within the existing right-of-ways. Rural addition projects, she said, provide upgrades that allow locally maintained roads to be turned over to the state.

The county’s top five rustic rural priorities are paving projects on portions of Rocky Lane ($360,000), Ashby Station Road ($265,000), Richardson Road ($45,000), Bucks Mill Road ($45,000) and Downing Farm Road ($225,000).

The top five rural addition projects are portions of Pine Ridge Road ($486,000), Lake Front Drive ($70,000), Tomahawk Way ($280,000), Copenhaver Lane ($206,876) and Western Lane ($91,376).

Wells R. Bill, who lives near Rocky Lane, said during a public hearing that the road would be better off being tarred and chipped rather than paved. He said people already speed down the road and accidents would increase exponentially if it were paved. He added that several of his neighbors also have reservations about paving the road.

“The folks that I’ve talked to, this is what they had to say: They are not in complete favor of any paving unless the road is widened enough to allow passing of traffic such as a school bus or a gravel truck,” Bill said.

Richard Smith, a Rocky Lane resident, said his two concerns regarding the project are whether VDOT would adhere to the state standard 18-foot-wide roadways and if drainage issues will be addressed.

Steve Cullers spoke about the seventh priority, Rocky Hollow Lane, which he said has been on the six-year plan for about 20 years. He noted that because of a nearby canoe rental business and camping ground, Rocky Hollow Lane “is probably one of the only dirt roads left in the county that is making the county money.” Despite the many tourists traveling the road, he said it is not welcoming.

“It’s supposed to be the canoe capital of Virginia, but we bring these people up here and put them on a bus or whatever to go back, and there’s a cloud of dust. You can imagine, that’s not too friendly for the county,” Cullers said.

The top prioritized unfunded projects are the reconstruction and widening of Howellsville Road, Totten Lane and Stokes Airport Road. Major projects soon to be completed from last year’s list include the Morgan Ford bridge replacement and reconstruction of Happy Creek Road.