Prince Edward County supervisors recently expressed criticism of the quality of groundskeeping work done along area roads by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). The comments came during the Highway Matters portion of the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors’ regular meeting Oct. 9.
County Administrator Wade Bartlett opened that portion of the meeting by noting that VDOT Resident Engineer Scot Shippee would not be there that night as he was at the Cumberland County Board of Supervisors’ meeting. Then Bartlett invited questions or requests that the board had.
While Lockett District Supervisor Robert M. “Bobby” Jones offered some praise for VDOT’s response to heavy rains that washed out roads prior to the Oct. 9 meeting, his main focus was in conveying a frank, negative assessment of VDOT’s groundskeeping performance along roads in the area.
“It is really ridiculous how bad of a job they’ve done this year at clipping the rural roads,” he said. “There’s some areas that never were clipped at all, and I know Scot said it was raining — yes, it was — but there’s Johnson grass falling over in the road. It really is becoming dangerous. Even the major highways haven’t been maintained very well, and I don’t know
what the state — they did away with subcontracting this year totally, I think, and I think they got more than they can handle, and it really is something that it’s got to be addressed and taken care of in future years, because it’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Bartlett said, “I don’t think that’s unique to Prince Edward.”
Jones agreed that it is not.
“I think the state is trying to crunch some money somehow, and they just can’t handle what they need to do, and it’s something we pay taxes (on), and it should be taken care of,” he said.
Hampden District Supervisor Dr. Odessa Pride said, “I agree with Bobby. The roads are in horrible shape, and then the deer — you can’t even see them until you get up on them. It’s terrible.”
Buffalo District Supervisor C.R. “Bob” Timmons Jr. indicated he had looked into the status and the schedule of the mowing and said “the response that we received back from out here at VDOT was they were starting in around the Pamplin area in Prince Edward County. I think Five Forks Road was going to be the first. They’re starting here today, and they start at one end of the county and go the other way.”
Jones commented on VDOT’s pace as being remarkably slow.
“I don’t disagree with you,” Timmons said. “What they’re doing is just a poor job.”
Jones noted that the higher-ups need to come out and drive some of the roads to see their condition firsthand.
A little later in the discussion, Jones did add some praise for VDOT’s response to inclement weather that came instead of Hurricane Florence.
“I’ll give them credit on the other hand,” he said. “We didn’t get the hurricane, but the torrential rains we got, some of the roads in our areas were washed out, and they were Johnny-on-the-spot getting those taken care of.”
The board of supervisors’ regular meeting in November will be held Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m.