Road projects underway across county

Published 8:45 am Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Summer months are the busiest time for road projects and that’s proving to be the case in Cumberland County.

Lindsey S. Hodges from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) updated the Cumberland County Board of Supervisors on current projects and crash statistics from last year at its Tuesday, July 12 meeting.

Current projects underway include those in the Royal Oak Road and Sports Lake areas where roadstones have been placed and surface treatment is expected to begin in the next two weeks, Hodges said. The work is subject to weather conditions.

Other improvements also include a completed safety project on South Airport Road, where the shoulders have been widened and paved for a more permanent fix. Assembly will begin this week on the Route 621 bridge.

Although VDOT has projects already in motion, they are always open to hearing from citizens about what else may need to be done.

“We are continuing to address customer concerns as they come in,” said Hodges.

On the topic of Amish traffic signs, Hodges said signs are being placed where drivers enter the county. If there are additional ones needed throughout, residents can send a request to VDOT.

To address some questions that have been presented to VDOT, Hodges briefly covered how speed limits are changed. According to the Code of Virginia, the speed limits can only be changed after a traffic engineering investigation that considers the roadway features, the nature of traffic and roadside development and crash data to determine speeds.

Wrapping up her report, Hodges covered crash data from 2021. Statewide there were 968 fatalities with 247 attributed to alcohol, 334 attributed to someone unrestrained and 445 due to speed. In Cumberland County, out of the 7,041 drivers, there were 114 crashes with five fatalities — none of those attributed to alcohol, one was due to someone not being restrained and four were due to speed.

“It’s not quite one person in a thousand that you come across this year that would be killed in an accident, which is a pretty high statistic,” said Hodges. “We just want to remind everyone to buckle up, don’t drink and drive, really watch your speed and maintain control over your vehicle.”

IN OTHER BUSINESS:

• Jennifer Crews, director of finance, asked supervisors to approve an additional appropriation of $4,074 to allocate the full funding received through the Virginia Department of Fire Programs. The money provides for training, firefighting equipment and protective clothing for local fire departments.

• The board approved the budget supplemental appropriation of $150,901.45 for the school division from refunds and reimbursements received.

• Supervisors approved a contract with The J.E.T. Group Inc. to begin construction on the improvements of the Randolph Fire Station, 2145 Cumberland Road. The county and the J.E.T. Group Inc. have proposed an agreement for said project and materials in the sum of $449,190.

• The board voted to adopt a resolution supporting the Virginia America 250 Commission and their efforts to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Virginia’s participation in American Independence.

• Supervisors voted to adopt a resolution designating July as Parks and Recreation Month. Parks and Recreation is fundamental to the environmental well-being of our community and the county recognizes the benefits derived from Parks and Recreation resources.

• The board voted to set a public hearing on Aug. 9 for CA 22-04. Supervisors will review an amendment to the code that limits animals in an R-3 zone to horses or ponies. Citizens have contacted county staff about the ability to have other animals like goats and chickens. The drafted amendment will remove the existing restriction and permit the keeping of other animals and fowl.

• Supervisors set a second public hearing on Aug. 9 for CA 22-06. In preparation for the Cumberland County Parks and Recreation Master Plan and the installation of new county-owned recreational facilities, this new code will set zoning for these types of recreational uses.

• The board voted to set a third public hearing on Aug. 9 for CUP 22-01. CUP 20-01 was approved for Catherine Fleischman for a cut-flower operation as well as a food truck but must be renewed every two years. This will be its first renewal.

• Supervisors voted to set a fourth public hearing on Aug. 9 for CUP 22-05. Borrego Solar is seeking a renewal for a 2-megawatt AC solar facility at 1650 Cumberland Road. Borrego Solar applied for and received a conditional use permit for a 3-MW AC Solar Facility on this site in 2021.

• The board voted to set a fifth public hearing on Aug. 9 for REZ 22-01. After being given the old squad building when Cartersville Volunteer Rescue Squad ceased operations in 2021, the Cartersville Volunteer Fire Department is requesting the property to be rezoned from A-2 to B-1 prior to the sale of the property.