Holding agencies accountable

Published 11:55 am Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Cumberland County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of approving a conditional use permit for a temporary construction yard to be established in the area of Salem Church Road to aid in the building of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).

While we believe that ACP officials and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will need to be held accountable to ensure they practice roadway safety and diligently maintain the area’s road conditions, we also commend members of the public, representatives from Cumberland County and the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors for voicing their concerns and putting a potential solution in place regarding roadway concerns.

One of these actions included amending Condition No. 6 within the conditional use permit for the Cumberland construction yard. The original condition allowed ACP work vehicles traveling from the construction yard to the Buckingham site to take the shortest possible route, which, according to a letter from Buckingham’s board of supervisors, would most likely be Salem Church Road. Supervisors in the letter expressed concern about the potential traffic hazards and roadway erosion that could take place if the large-scale vehicles travel on the road during peak hours of the day.

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Cumberland’s board of supervisors amended the condition so that the vehicles that do travel down this road will be vehicles with fewer than five axles.

We appreciate Cumberland supervisors for taking those concerns into account and amending the condition, and we also commend Buckingham supervisors for addressing the issue with Cumberland.

Both ACP and VDOT operate with fixed values, commitments and codes of ethics that establish their positions on public safety and quality of work. Our responsibility as journalists with The Herald, citizens and county officials is to hold ACP and VDOT accountable for their work, to proactively call them out when they fail to meet their commitments and to work to ensure that the policies set by Cumberland and Buckingham — particularly regarding the routes ACP work vehicles take — are followed.