VDOT, town praised for cleanup

Published 6:50 pm Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Town of Farmville drew praise from the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors at its Nov. 8 meeting for the way the department and town responded to the significant fallout in the area from Tropical Storm Michael.

Pattie Cooper-Jones

Before supervisors had their opportunity for comment, the first praise for VDOT came from Vicky Page, who was offering public comment as fundraising chair of the Friends of the Barbara Rose Johns Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library.

“Before I get started because I get so flustered when I do these things, I want to try to thank VDOT for the great work that they did in clearing our roads of all the trees and debris during the power outage,” she said, then initiating a round of applause.

Email newsletter signup

When the chance came for supervisor comments, Farmville 801 District Supervisor and Board Chair Pattie Cooper-Jones said, “I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to VDOT for the past two storms that you had. It was a tremendous amount of work, trees down everywhere and people complaining, but I take my hat off to you for the service that you provided to Prince Edward County, because being without lights was a really bad experience. I’ve been here 35 years, (it was) my first real experience with no lights, so I’m thankful. I do appreciate you.”

Jim Wilck

Farmville 701 District Supervisor and Board Vice Chair Jim Wilck said he would like to echo Cooper-Jones in her praise of VDOT clearing the trees.

“I’d also like to say something about the Town of Farmville,” he said, “because I saw their trucks all over the place, picking up limbs, cutting off limbs and getting streets ready and so forth, so there’s a lot of praise to go around.”

Cooper-Jones said, “And I will second that. Thank you to Mr. (Gerald) Spates and the Town Council. You did a remarkable job as well.”

This prompted another round of applause.

Gene A. Southall

At the conclusion of his comments, Farmville 101 District Supervisor Gene A. Southall said, “And the highway department, I’ve noticed on all the roads, they’ve really done a fast job of cutting the trees on Price Drive and Briery Road.”

During the Highway Matters portion of the board meeting, VDOT Resident Engineer Scot Shippee said, “Thank you all for the kind comments earlier. Our guys have been working really hard over the last couple weeks, and I know they will all appreciate hearing that as well.”

He offered a quick maintenance update.

“Primary function over the last probably three-and-a-half weeks has been recovery from Hurricane Michael,” he said, adding that VDOT still had crews working on repairs in various locations and performing debris removal while tending to other duties like patching up potholes.

Scot Shippee

“A brief summary on Hurricane Michael countywide: During that event, we had roughly 47 hurricane-related callouts — this is not tree-related — 36 of which were flooded, over-topped or washed-out roads,” Shippee said. “We’ve still got two routes closed with major damage, routes 600 and 613. The combined price tag on those is right around a million dollars to fix.”

Summing up the overall financial impact of Michael, he said, “For Prince Edward County alone, this was roughly a $1.6 million storm. Districtwide, we’re looking at roughly $12 to $15 million, so we’re working with (Federal Emergency Management Agency) right now to see what qualifies for reimbursement, but there’s no guarantees, so we’ll just have to wait and see where that goes.”