• 41°

Median work is for safety reasons

Q: What is going on with all the work in the median on Route 460 West just past the Dowdy’s Corner exit? They have cut down a number of big trees and continue to work (with orange cones on both sides) in a fairly large area of the median.

Work being performed on a U.S. Route 460 median westbound past the Dowdy’s Corner interchange is being carried out by Luck Stone in order to increase safety near the company’s quarry — one that’s currently in the land development process.

Luck Stone Marketing and Communications Spokeswoman Natalie Brisbane said the project is being conducted with the Virginia Department of Transportation’s permitting and approval process.

“Essentially this is a really positive thing because this construction is taking place to enhance safety and improve line of sight visibility in that area and to kind of ensure safe movement along (Route) 460 in the area that is adjacent to the entrance of our new operation in Prince Edward,” Brisbane said.

She said the work includes construction of deceleration lanes near the entrance.

“There is one on the westbound side and eastbound side and they’re essentially to accommodate left-hand turns and to keep traffic from backing up too much,” Brisbane said.

A number of large trees have also been removed from the area of work on the median.

Luck Stone primarily produces construction aggregate material for large infrastructure projects, such as roads, and large commercial projects, such as housing developments.

The company announced its move to Prince Edward County in November.

During a previous interview, County Administrator Wade Bartlett said the company’s presence would increase the tax base, create jobs and hopefully generate additional development in the county.

“It will make it more affordable for construction projects here as they will be able to get their stone locally,” Bartlett said.

During the interview, Bartlett said the county is “confident” with the process Luck Stone went through to obtain Virginia Department of Mines, Mineral and Energy (DMME) permits in terms of the quarry’s impact on the environment.

“They had to meet stringent requirements from the state. We’re confident there will be limited to no impact environmentally,” Bartlett said.

He said members of the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors had visited Luck Stone’s Burkeville site to see just how “shots” — the use of explosives to break up rock — are done.

“They were afraid of ‘flyrock,’ but the rock just kind of fluffed and flowed down the quarry wall,” Bartlett said.

The company has a total of 16 quarries — 15 in Virginia and one in North Carolina — and four distribution yards in the Williamsburg and Hampton Roads areas.

Brisbane said the company is excited about being a part of the community and serving the Farmville area.

“(We) just want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to do this the right and safe way, so that entails going through the VDOT permitting process and making sure that those roads are safe for folks to travel on,” Brisbane said.

The quarry will be situated on about 330 acres.

“As a customer-inspired business, we believe it’s our responsibility to provide people with the products they need, when they need them most,” said Jim Van Ness, a vice president at Luck Stone. “We are excited to open the Prince Edward location to further serve our customers and communities in Southside Virginia,” he said. “Our partnership with Mellott enables us to maximize our resources and quickly open the gates at Prince Edward.”

Luck Stone is headquartered in Richmond and is one of the largest family-owned and operated producers of crushed stone, sand and gravel in the United States.