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I say ‘Yes!’ to the Third Street Interchange

would definitely like to express my support for the completion of the Third Street Interchange that was addressed during the regular February meeting of the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors. It seems like it would be a sensible update that would make travel more convenient while enhancing public safety.

Farmville 701 District Supervisor and Board Chairman Jim Wilck spearheaded a resolution of support, calling for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to recognize the importance of completing the Third Street Interchange and to provide the funding needed to complete it. The board approved the resolution at the February meeting.

The resolution itself does a great job of providing a brief history of the interchange issue. However, before even looking at the document, it was clear to me that the issue has been a longstanding one based on the reaction that two of the supervisors had, including Wilck.

Lockett District Supervisor Robert M. “Bobby” Jones said, “I’d like to thank you, Jim, for taking this bull by the horns and trying to get this issue straightened out. We’ve invested a lot of time …”

Wilck echoed Jones’ perspective with his reply: “I appreciate it. It’s just been going on an awful long time …”

Like most longstanding issues, this one has occupied a variety of people who have poured a great deal of hard work into it, trying to make the solution a reality.

“We’ve had an awful lot of help with the couple of ladies in the audience tonight from the chamber of commerce and the downtown Farmville committee,” Wilck said, “and we found that both the truck traffic being forced into the residential areas in downtown is a problem, (and) economic development is a problem.”

Wilck’s approach was effective in the effort to mount a persuasive argument for why VDOT should provide the needed funding. He outlined a trio of compelling reasons for why the interchange is important. Two appear in the quote above.

The concept of truck traffic where truck traffic doesn’t belong qualifies as an important logistical reason for the interchange — the town will run better with it. This reason also touches the safety issue.

Another reason that looms large is economic development. The resolution notes that the lack of an interchange creating limited access has negatively impacted the development of a major commercial corridor in Farmville.

Thirdly, Wilck alluded to the degree to which the interchange could improve public safety by asking the Prince Edward Volunteer Rescue Squad for data on how much time might be saved if there was a ramp getting onto U.S. Route 460.

TITUS MOHLER is the sports editor for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is Titus.Mohler@FarmvilleHerald.com.