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Letting Route 628 Be

PRINCE EDWARD – A county committee tapped to study traffic patterns for Route 628 has come up with a recommendation.

Meet again January 25.

The laissez-faire option, approved by the board of supervisors as a whole at their September 11 meeting, will leave the current flow in place as the new Route 786 (an alternate access road that was formally named Granite Falls Boulevard the same evening) comes into service-which is expected later this year.

After the road opens, committee chairman (and board vice chairman) Howard Simpson cited, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is going to do a study to see the best way to handle the conditions of the road.

“The Committee discussed the multiple causes of the traffic congestion on Rt. 628 and Rt. 15 and the safety concerns with students crossing Rt. 628 numerous times during the day, a memo to the board detailed. “The Committee also discussed the multiple possible fixes for the congestion and the possible traffic patterns involving Rt. 786. The Committee agreed that the best immediate answer was to wait and see how traffic responds after the opening of the new road later this fall. In the meantime, VDOT encouraged the County to consider an educational campaign when the new road opens that encourages parents to use Rt. 786 when dropping their children in the morning.”

VDOT, it was also cited, will measure the change in traffic with the opening of the new road.

The committee studying the traffic issue in addition to Simpson included Leigh District Supervisor Don Gantt, School Board Chairman Russell Dove, School Superintendent Dr. David Smith, VDOT representatives Kevin Wright and Gerry Harter. Among others attending the meeting were County Administrator Wade Bartlett, Director of Support Services for the County Schools Richard Goode, and Supervisor of Bus Transportation Lylton Crenshaw.

In other news, supervisors, with the lone dissenting vote of Farmville District Supervisor Pattie Cooper-Jones, agreed to name the new alternate road “Granite Falls Boulevard.”

It was noted in a memo to supervisors that all road plans approved by VDOT must include a plan for signage, which includes the location and size of the signs and the name of the road.

The board has not formally approved a name for the new access road and failing to choose one would have meant it would have received the Granite Falls Boulevard designation.

“There has to be a name,” noted Bartlett. “The name that defaulted by VDOT, 'cause it's the only name they ever heard, was Granite Falls Boulevard.”

Four sizable signs will be placed, including two an estimated 500 feet before the intersection on U.S. Route 15 and two additional signs on the mast arms of the new traffic signal.

The new road, connecting to U.S. Route 15 just south of the intersection with Route 648, is located across from the County's business park and would offer an alternate for traffic that currently flows through the County's school complex.